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Romney's Iowa Report Card

GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney greets supporters after speaking at a rally at Kinzler Construction in Ames, Iowa.(Ralf-Finn Hestoft)

January 5, 2012

President Obama's strategists have been portraying Romney's 25 percent first-place showing in Tuesday's Iowa caucuses as a sign of significant weakness - an example of how unenthused Republicans are about his candidacy. But in reality, Romney's Iowa showing is pretty normal for eventual Republican presidential nominees, squarely in the middle-of-the pack.

Romney's 24.6 percent ranks ahead of George H.W. Bush's Iowa vote in 1988, when he finished third with 19 percent - and later won the presidency, comfortably.  It comes close to matching Bob Dole's 26 percent showing in 1996, which at the time was the low-water mark for caucus victors.  And it surpasses John McCain's 13 percent from 2008, when he bypassed the Iowa caucuses to focus on New Hampshire.

But it fell well short of George W. Bush's 41 percent showing in 2000, and a little short of Ronald Reagan's 30 percent tally in 1980.  And in 1976, then-President Gerald Ford tallied 45 percent of the vote in Iowa.

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