Second, I want to address this article about Ron Paul's post-caucus strategy. The gist is that the Paul people are very organized and made sure that their supporters stuck around after the initial counts to run for delegates to the county conventions. This is how you ultimately end up with a greater share of national convention delegates than your caucus-night showing would predict. The naive campaign treats a caucus like a primary and leaves as soon as the voting is done. The smart campaign realizes that the caucus is just the first step in the selection of delegates and sticks around to try to control the post-caucus selections. (I wrote about this with regards to Obama and Clinton back in 2008). Anyway, I think Josh Putnam is right that Paul could end up with significantly more delegates than expected thanks to this level of organization, although I agree with Jon Bernstein that this won't make a difference for the nomination.
One point I'd like to add: In the Business Insider article linked to above, the author writes:
Iowa's Republican caucuses are non-binding — they are technically just a straw poll, so once selected, delegates are free to vote for whichever presidential candidate they choose.I think the whole binding/non-binding thing is a bit of a red herring with regards to caucuses. I hope Josh or Jon will correct me here if I'm wrong, but the way that caucuses get to choose their delegates to the next levels (county, district, state, national) all but ensures that those delegates will be extremely loyal to their preferred candidate. After the Iowa caucuses last night, Romney supporters in each precinct gathered together to pick the people among them who would best support Romney at the county conventions. Now, there'd be no official sanction if one of them defected to Paul or Santorum, but that person would be a fool to do it. She'd be immediately distrusted and despised among local Iowa Republicans, and if she cared enough about her reputation in local politics to get involved in the county convention in the first place, that's an outcome she'd like to avoid. Now, if Romney somehow dropped out of the race and encouraged his supporters to back Santorum (this won't happen, but stick with me), that delegate would be happy to follow his request. But short of that, he can expect a great deal of loyalty from his "non-binding" delegates.