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On the GOP side, Iowa is less important. If Romney doesn't win Iowa, his chances of getting the nomination decline to that of Ron Paul. What we've seen here is that Iowa has forced every Republican contender to "talk tough" on the issue of immigration-or effectively leave that race to their rivals(and Giuliani and McCain have done). Now the problem is that the Iowa electorate only understands one segment of the immigration issue: illegal immigration.
This means that we have candidates that are either for expanding all forms of immigration (like McCain) vs. the rest of the bunch that with the possible exception of Ron Paul, want to expand immigration of H-1b and neo-bracero guest workers in return for controlling illegal immigration.
This makes a good case for organizations like VDARE.com, NumbersUSA and FAIR having a booth at the 2008 Ames straw poll—just to educate Iowa voters about what is going on-and what the real records of these candidates really are.
Iowa will probably eliminate either Romney or Huckabee from the top tier of presidential candidates. However, Romney has enough or his own money that he will work hard to make sure he isn't terribly embarrassed—and Huckabee's campaign is so lean, had so little expectations from the start-and his 23% Vice Presidential odds are so good, that he'll continue to be a factor.
However there is about a 40% chance that the winner of the Iowa Caucuses will be the eventual nominee. We'll essentially see who gets the lead the charge for more Guest worker Visas into New Hampshire. Now, the interesting thing there is that in NH there is enough tech industry, I can imagine some folks could plausibly ask some hard questions-and the only one with any credibility because of his record in the area of resisting H-1b expansion has been Ron Paul.
Huckabee has little shot at winning NH. McCain has carried that state before and Romney was the governor of a nearby state. The most optimistic likely outcome here is that Huckabee wounds Romney in Iowa, Romney can eliminate McCain in NH—and then the race starts to open up a bit with no faux immigration restriction advocate having a commanding presence so that the issue can continue to be discussed in a variety of states-and the candidates be forced to realize just how little their staffers really know.