Alright, so I thought that I might try my luck and make a timeline. Nothing particularly clever, but I hope that I can get some input from you guys. I'll start with the Republican Primary in 2012 and go from there. Depending on how things go, I might go reasonably far in the future. The "point of divergence" is that the Republican Party of Iowa acknowledges Santorum's victory as it happens, as opposed to some time down the road. Let's just say that campaign's other than Romney's actually possess some organization and structure this time around, too. And on another note, I'm not actually going to tie the delegate counts to the specifics of the results. The relationship between results and the delegate selection process is too complicated and arbitrary for going at it entirely accurately to be worth it.As of 1/7/12:
Santorum Wins Iowa By Slimmest of Margins
Santorum relishes victory in Iowa.
Rick Santorum: 25%
Mitt Romney: 24%
Ron Paul: 21%
Newt Gingrich: 13%
Rick Perry: 10%
Jon Huntsman: 1%
After having been turned down by Pennsylvania voters only 6 years ago, Rick Santorum has won the Republican primary in Iowa, the crucial first state in the cycle, over Mitt Romney by the razor-thin margin of 34 votes. Santorum only now begun to approach 10% in National Polling among Republican Primary voters. This victory represents a huge milestone for his campaign; a stunning finish such as this was predicted by very few professional pundits and Republican voters alike.
Bachmann and Perry Drop Out, Conservatives Find Some Solace in Santorum
Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann address their supporters after an disappointing performance in Iowa.
Now that the primary season has begun, the field of Republican candidates begins to shrink. Both Perry and Bachmann, who once led in Iowa polling, ended their campaigns after performing poorly in Iowa. Bachmann readily endorses Rick Santorum, applauding his devotion to the religious right. Perry seems to be feeling for his role, and holds out on endorsing for now.
Romney's Frontrunner Status Questioned, Huntsman Surges In New Hampshire
Hunstman campaigns in New Hampshire.
Public Policy Polling in NH on 1/7:
Mitt Romney: 30%
Jon Huntsman: 25%
Rick Santorum: 12%
Ron Paul: 11%
Newt Gingrich: 4%
Romney, while not necessarily consistently dominating in the polls, has enjoyed frontrunner status throughout what's happened as of yet. However, after struggling to perform in the Iowa primary, the Republican establishment has seriously begun to analyze him for his flaws. A "maybe Romney's not the most electable candidate after all" meme has introduced itself. Republican voters split themselves to both the right and to the center of Romney. Moderate Republicans, a group that, surprisingly, still exists, have left Romney for Jon Huntsman, the also-Mormon ex-Governor of Utah. Huntsman finds himself in a position to contest the New Hampshire primary, a state with a moderate Republican voting base, where both he and Mitt Romney are expected to perform at their bests.