Remember, the margin of error is almost 5% so this can mean that Mitt, Paul, and Santorum all have a shot at this.
Key things to watch:
- Organization: key in Iowa as caucus turnout is relatively low. This benefits Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. Even several hundred votes can make a difference.
- Do social conservatives rally around a "Mitt alternative"? This explains much of Santorum's rise in the past week. Mitt's advantage is that conservatives have yet to gravitate to one candidate. In this scenario, one can win and have media momentum with a quarter of the vote. Remember, Obama only beat Hillary by a few pints in Iowa in 2008.
- Is there a barrage of negative advertising, a verbal slip, or other unforeseen event that can change this very fluid race?
- Weather - the better the weather the higher the turnout. Could be an opening for candidates with poorer organization.
The Prof's final prediction based on polling, insight and (mostly) gut feel: