So how did Mitt Romney’s performance in Iowa compare to the last time he ran for president, in the 2008 cycle — with the difference that this time, he has been the big national frontrunner?
In the 2008 caucuses, in which Romney made a major effort to become the conservative opposition to John McCain, he ended up getting 30,021 raw votes, 25% of the total vote, for a second-place finish — a humiliating finish behind Mike Huckabee’s 40,954 votes, 35% of the total. Indeed, that bad result threw Romney off his momentum going into New Hampshire, which he then lost to John McCain, who went on to win the Republican nomination.
Tuesday, Romney garnered … 25% of the vote again, and about 30,000 votes (the exact figure is still being tabulated).
In 2008, Romney carried mainly the northeastern area of the state, and the far west.
In the 2012 caucuses, he mainly carried the east (though the northeast corner had some strong posts for Ron Paul and Rick Santorum), and the major population center of central Iowa, Polk County (Des Moines). The west went mainly to Santorum, though Romney did carry a couple scattered counties in the west plus other areas of the state.