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Romney drew large crowds in recent campaign stops in Des Moines' western suburbs, while Santorum outworked all rivals in the rural counties, particularly Rep. Steve King's conservative western district.

In his remarks to supporters late Tuesday night, Romney congratulated Santorum and then took aim at President Obama, saying, "The gap between his promises four years ago and his performance is as great as anything I've ever seen in my life."

Traditionally, only three candidates leave Iowa with momentum. Finishing in fourth and fifth place respectively, Gingrich and Perry would have to defy that history to gain traction, perhaps in South Carolina. One or both candidates could try to play up their Southern ties, as Iowa's top two finishers are both from the Northeast. But Santorum will now make a strong bid for the evangelicals in South Carolina.

With two nationally televised debates scheduled in New Hampshire over the next week, the candidates remaining in the race will spend at least some time there. But Romney's expected strength in New Hampshire means the next heavily contested battle likely will take place in South Carolina.

Listen to Joel Hannahs discuss the results of the Iowa caucus on WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It.

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