• Rick Santorum Simultaneously Wins and Loses Schrodinger's (Iowa) Caucus

    The savvy and deliberate citizens of the Hawkeye State take their solemn democratic responsibilities seriously, looking each presidential contender in the eye as the candidates extol the virtues of the deep-fried Twinkie and declare that every Iowa precinct captain is the very heart and soul of the nation.

    In fact, Iowa's political parties take their responsibilities so seriously that the highly-competitive Republican contest generated a turnout of just 19% of registered Republicans, some of whose votes will be known only to the corn gods

    There are too many holes in the certified totals from the Iowa caucuses to know for certain who won, but Rick Santorum wound up with a 34-vote advantage.

    Results from eight precincts are missing — any of which could hold an advantage for Mitt Romney — and will never be recovered and certified, Republican Party of Iowa officials told The Des Moines Register on Wednesday.

    GOP officials discovered inaccuracies in 131 precincts, although not all the changes affected the two leaders. Changes in one precinct alone shifted the vote by 50 — a margin greater than the certified tally.

    The certified numbers: 29,839 for Santorum and 29,805 for Romney. The turnout: 121,503.

    Finally, I have a good guess as to what's beneath the sweater vest: "missing" vote tabulations from Lee and Pocahontas counties! But however small and uncertain the margin, Santorum is the winner, right? Not according to Iowa Republican Party, which called the final result a "split decision" and a "tie."

    After a while, Rick Santorum is simultaneously the winner and the loser of the technically meaningless, non-delegate-awarding beauty contest, yet when you look at all the "Form E" precinct totals, someone has to come out on top. It's like Schrodinger's Cat, unfortunately sans the hydrogen cyanide of the original.

    Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: Iowa, Iowa Caucus, Mitt Romney, Primaries, Republicans, Rick Santorum

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