The Big Story Blog

Iowa: A state that suits Santorum's pocketbook

Posted at 1:50 PM on January 3, 2012 by Michael Olson
Filed under: Iowa, Politics

Rick Santorum doesn't measure up in comparable wealth to the guys and gal he's running against. The "Santorum surge" we've been hearing so much about might be his moment to capture lightning in a bottle. Marketplace has more on why Iowa is Santorum's kind of state.

Marketplace's Stacey Vanek Smith: Prof. Moyer, supporters of the Iowa caucus say one advantage of the caucus is that it gives less wealthy candidates a chance -- that they can challenge candidates with deeper pockets because the Iowa race is more about meeting with people, shaking hands, that kind of thing. Is that true?

Wayne Moyer (teaches political science at Grinnell College in Iowa): Yes, I think that it is. The nature of the state is such that the smaller population and the less need for television advertising -- which is very expensive -- it does give candidates a chance who don't have quite the resources that others do.

Particularly, say, with Rick Santorum, who didn't have very much money, who's rising very rapidly in the polls right now. And he spent, I think, something like 100 days in Iowa, and he would not have been able to do that in a larger state. He wouldn't have had the same kind of impact.

Smith: Now, Iowa has its own particular economy -- it's got quite a low unemployment rate, and it's also a very rural state, and it's been a good few years for farmers. How is Iowa's economy factoring into the race right now?

Moyer: I don't think that it is making a great deal of difference. I think that the people in Iowa are looking at the national situation as much as they're looking at the Iowa situation. I mean, we still have an unemployment rate of 6 percent, which is still pretty high. I haven't been able to tell how it's helping candidates or hurting candidates per se.


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.