How Chris Christie could win Iowa

But there is indeed a path to victory for Christie in the Hawkeye State. He could win there the same way Mitt Romney almost did in 2012.

Campaigning heavily in New Hampshire as the front-runner in a field crowded with more conservative opponents, Romney largely avoided Iowa throughout 2011. It wasn’t until the last couple of weeks of that year that he made a hard push there after the opportunity to win was too glaring to ignore.

In a field of six major candidates, Romney ended up earning 24.5 percent of the vote — good enough for an effective tie with Santorum for first place.

Though the former Massachusetts governor won just 14 percent of caucus-goers who described themselves as “very conservative” (and who made up 47 percent of the electorate), he was the top choice among the 37 percent of voters who called themselves “somewhat conservative.”

Romney also won 35 percent of the vote among self-described moderates and liberals, who made up 17 percent of the electorate.