With the Iowa Caucuses over, all eyes in the political world are on to the next early voting state, New Hampshire. In this issue of the «GOP Nomination,» we’re going to analyze the results of Iowa, and see what they mean for the future.
This year’s Iowa caucuses produced a few big upsets. Against political odds, and polling done in the state in the days leading up to the vote, Ted Cruz beat Donald Trump. Personally, I had a gut feeling that this would happen, because Ted Cruz has led against Trump among Evangelical Christians, a large demographic in America, but especially among Iowans. Cruz’s firebrand Christian conservative image helped him generate support among religious voters, positioning himself as the «true» conservative alternative to Donald Trump. In a state demographically dominated by the hard-right and evangelicals, Trump’s bombastic and loud delivery helped him, but having many positions that are seen as moderate hurt him.
A big surprise from the Iowa Caucuses was Marco Rubio’s performance, which was 7% higher than day-before projections. Projected to come in at just under 17%, Rubio scored 23%, and positioned himself within one percentage point of Trump. While coming in third was his original projection, he projected to get a distant third, and instead he beat projections and came in a very close third.*
What does this mean going forward? It shows that Rubio’s calm and prepared approach still has validity against Trump’s and Cruz’s darker and louder strategy. Most prediction markets have Trump as the overall favorite to win New Hampshire, the next primary. However, many polls are now beginning to show Rubio returning into second place there, beating out Cruz and John Kasich. With Rubio’s newfound «Marcomentum,» he has a serious chance at becoming the runner up. Next week is the New Hampshire primary, and much like with Iowa, all the national focus will be there. Iowa is considered to be a much more conservative state, while New Hampshire generally elects a more moderate candidate. Conditions like that are benefits to moderate candidates like Trump, Bush, and Rubio, while providing a hostile campaign environment for more conservative candidates like Cruz. In addition, Mark Huckabee dropped out of the race, which will help more conservative candidates like Cruz and Carson, but as a low polling candidate, the extent of this extra support will be limited.
Next week is the New Hampshire primary where, historically, moderate and establishment candidates gain an advantage. This benefits candidates like Trump and Rubio, while hurting more conservative candidates like Cruz. While everything is just speculation until after the primary itself, it is widely predicted that Trump will win this primary, and if he wants to stay competitive, he must.
*Polling data provided by Real Clear Politics, Betting information from FiveThirtyEight blog, and Predictit.org