The votes from the Iowa caucuses are in and Mitt Romney is the winner. But just by a meager eight votes.
Rick Santorum came in a very close second with a tally of 30,007 votes compared to Romney's 30,015. Both took roughly 25% of the vote while Ron Paul came in a close third with 21%.
Business Insider Politics Editor Michael Brendan Dougherty joined The Daily Ticker's Henry Blodget to discuss the results and what it all means. Watch the video for his analysis and read below to find out what Dougherty considers to be the big takeaway from Iowa.
Provided by the Business Insider
Mitt Romney won 25.19 percent of the vote in Iowa in 2008 - and lost that contest by 9 points.
Since then, Mitt Romney spent millions of dollars. He got better at debating. He annihilated Rick Perry. The SuperPAC aligned to Romney took out a surging Newt Gingrich with negative ads. And Romney focused his energy on attacking Barack Obama.
All that got him was 25 percent of the vote again last night. Almost exactly the 2008 result he had in Iowa.
He lost the nomination then. This isn't exactly the start to 2012 Team Romney was expecting.
75 percent of Republican Caucus-goers want someone that isn't Mitt Romney - a result that reflects polls nationwide.
And now Mitt Romney has four problems.
1) The media is going to hound Mitt Romney for underperforming - because they hate a frontrunner, because they appreciate an underdog, and because they are desperate for a real, hard-fought contest.
2) Newt Gingrich basically turned his concession speech into an announcement that his campaign would no longer be about winning. He will now focus on stopping Mitt Romney from winning and stopping Ron Paul from influencing Republican foreign policy. Mike Huckabee became determined to perform a kamikaze attack on Romney four years ago and it worked.
3) Rick Santorum is going to soak up a lot of oxygen this week. If he had risen weeks ago, he would have been given intense scrutiny. Now all that scrutiny will be leavened by flattering accounts of "how he did it" and how "he might just do it again" in New Hampshire.
4) Jon Huntsman was the only other candidate besides Rick Santorum that wasn't damaged by last night's results. He didn't compete, so he didn't underperform. He is going to get fresh attention and he is going to be focused on tearing Romney down.
Romney can take care of all four of these problems if he simply translates his 40 percent poll numbers into 40 percent of the vote next Tuesday in New Hampshire.
Despite that, Paul's campaign is a major success. He brought in a gigantic number of independent voters and first-time caucus-goers. Without Ron Paul, the turnout in the Iowa Caucus would have been abysmally low this year.
Ron Paul may be retiring from electoral politics at the end of his current Congressional term, but he has proven that he is the only person attracting young voters to the Republican party. And he has injected some new and old ideas back into the Republican bloodstream.
"We've had success reintroducing some ideas Republicans have needed for a long time," he said in his speech Tuesday night. "And that is the conviction that freedom is popular. Let's go back to to this real old fashioned idea, this dangerous idea: let's obey the Constitution."
"We are gonna keep scoring, just as we have tonight" Paul said, encouraging his supporters to press on in New Hampshire.
"There are all the reason to be satisfied," summing up his performance.
And he's right. Even if he didn't win, as many thought he would a month ago, Paul has come a long way in four years. In 2008 Rudy Giuliani and other candidates openly ridiculed Congressman Paul during the debates and in interviews. In this contest, most candidates have adopted some of Paul's issues in opposing bailouts, calling for more oversight of the Federal Reserve.
So of course his campaign is a success.
Watch the interview to see who Dougherty predicts will grab the Republican presidential nomination and then the general election. And tell us what you think in the comment section below or on our Facebook page!