Was anyone else astonished? I fully expected Ron Paul to be in the top two, and was relieved that Iowans feared this possibility enough to prevent it!
More astonishing still, of course, is the narrow margin between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Surprise! We have a strongly conservative contender. He will either a) be the conservative of the month and fade away as quickly as he rose just like all the other conservative candidates, or b) be more thoroughly vetted and found acceptable, and take it all. I rather doubt the latter. As Mitt Romney said himself, Santorum had a strong Iowa campaign but he (Mitt) is running a national campaign. Still, stranger things have happened within this primary season!
Now, for any of you who are confused, like I was, about what these results actually mean in terms of delegates, I quote Wikipedia:
"The Iowa caucuses are an electoral event in which residents of the U.S. state of Iowa meet in precinct caucuses in all of Iowa's 1,774 precincts and elect delegates to the corresponding county conventions. There are 99 counties in Iowa and thus 99 conventions. These county conventions then select delegates for both Iowa's Congressional District Convention and the State Convention, which eventually choose the delegates for the presidential nominating conventions (the national conventions). The 2012 Iowa Caucuses were held on Tuesday, January 3, 2012.
"The Iowa caucuses are noteworthy for the amount of media attention they receive during U.S. presidential election years. Since 1972, the Iowa caucuses have been the first major electoral event of the nominating process for President of the United States. Although only about 1% of the nation's delegates are chosen by the Iowa State Convention (28 Republican delegates in 2012, assigned proportionately), the Iowa caucuses have served as an early indication of which candidates for president might win the nomination of their political party at that party's national convention, and which ones could drop out for lack of support."