In other words, this is fertile ground for a candidate like Paul, where he can gin up enough participants in a small state to win. In fact, he performed quite well in the caucus states in 2008, and few dispute that his base of support is larger this time around. Many observers, myself included, give him a reasonable chance at winning Iowa; he will probably have a top-three finish. Caucus states are also concentrated in the Mountain West, where his brand of Republicanism holds greater appeal. They’re also front-loaded, meaning that (a) his supporters will be less likely to have been swayed by the “can’t win” argument and (b) the more “establishment” Republican candidates are likely to split the non-Paul votes.
Overall, 486 delegates will be awarded in caucus states. If Paul picks off a sizable number of these delegates, say a quarter of them, and two other GOP candidates battle to a draw, there might not be a nominee by the end of June. This type of fight could carry over to the convention, since Paul is pretty feisty and is probably the least likely candidate out there to be “bought off” with a Cabinet position or speaking slot.
If, say, Perry and Gingrich are knotted up with about 1,050 delegates each, and Paul holds the remaining 200 and refuses to budge, you could end up with a deadlocked convention that eventually turns to a dark-horse candidate. But there are an awful lot of contingencies built in there. I certainly wouldn’t bet the farm on any of them, let alone all of them, taking place.