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All right so it's almost 2012 we're counting down of course the days until Election Day but we're also counting down to the Iowa Caucuses.
The first contest of the campaigns the campaign season is now just five days away.
The latest real clear politics average of the Iowa polls shows a virtual tossup between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney.
Can also shoot shows -- -- -- It also shows.
Newt Gingrich sliding as -- Rick Santorum -- we will not know anything for certain until we see the final results on Tuesday night.
But what are some of the scenarios that could play out here let's ask the man -- gazing into his crystal ball Larry 70 the director for the center of -- center for politics.
At the University of Virginia.
You lay out for possible scenarios Larry and there are all based in part on what has gone before in Iowa let's let's take a look at the first one.
The first one is obvious and I'll win launches one front runner on to sort of sweep the rest of the contests and win the nomination.
Yes that's the ideal scenario for someone like Mitt Romney no doubt in his heart of hearts and his dreams of dreams.
This is what he considers its much like what happened to Senator John Kerry on the democratic side in 2004.
He came up really at the last minute.
And won the Iowa caucus then swept the New Hampshire primary and never looked back.
All right and scenario true.
It's kind of an interest in one and some might say Ron Paul figures in here it's these strong out liar candidate.
That makes Iowa irrelevant.
Well Ron Paul would certainly shake things up -- he -- Iowa's critics would use that undoubtedly just as for example they used.
Pat Robertson is victory over vice president George H.
Bush in 1988 to suggest that.
Iowa did not predict the results maybe should go first.
Now would we get back on track and move and another direction quickly probably New Hampshire likes to choose differently from Iowa anyway.
But it would certainly stirred the pot and we have a lot to talk about yet it's interesting to think back and remember that that reverend pat Robin Robertson and beat the man who eventually went on to win the nomination and the presidency that you.
You know Iowa can't produce -- usual results there's no question about it and it's one reason why we love to go there well Ohio Iowa can also helped produce inconclusive.
Results and that's your third scenario where.
Essentially you get two or three candidates all kind of in a in a lot pump.
This has happened several times in both parties.
It's difficult to project a clear victory -- there's only one or two percentage points between.
The first place finisher in the second place finisher in the third place finisher so you just basically say well they are three tickets out of Iowa or four tickets out of Iowa.
This could happen.
This time around with Mitt Romney and Ron Paul and maybe Rick Santorum all finishing close to one another.
And so we just continue the campaign the campaign march through the -- January events and then on to the big events in March.
And then your fourth scenario a false start for a candidate who does well in Iowa and then kind of -- like.
Sometimes served the Iowa can give -- in another way.
I think back to again George H.
Bush but another election year 1980.
When bush came out of nowhere and beat Ronald Reagan people forget that Ronald Reagan lost that first contest in 1980.
It looked briefly like George Bush was going to be the Republican nominee in 1980 and probably would have been elected president against Jimmy Carter -- Ronald Reagan came right back roared back in New Hampshire.
Very cleverly used the New Hampshire propensity to vote differently from Iowa won it again never looked back.
We'll see what happens -- -- but I I can't let you know way Larry without asking you a little bit about the Nebraska senate seat that is suddenly going to be open.
With a democratic senator Ben Nelson announcing his retirement from the senate his intention not to run again.
What does that dramatically improve Republican chances to win the senate.
-- not dramatically because I don't think Ben Nelson would have been reelected -- to be blunt about it the Republican nominee for president.
Is almost certain to get more than 60% of the vote in Nebraska and this is a time not for split -- but for straight party voting so.
Now I think the Republican candidate will be clearly favored.
It may be that the Democrats can't even come up with a first class nominee what they've been talking about senator Bob Kerrey who used to represented that state he's been in New York for a long time but.
Would he be a possibility of strong contender.
If he runs but I'll be surprised if he does you know he hasn't been back to Nebraska for a long time and he was -- and got elected governor and senator.
In a very different environment we're in Nebraska ends and other people in red states Republican red states were more willing to elect Democrats to these sorts of positions.
We live in a highly polarized environment -- And I think it would be much tougher on carry this time that it was in those previous times when he won the governorship in ascendancy all right Larry 70.
Center for politics at the University of Virginia thank you.
Thank you John.
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