The big day is finally here.
Iowa again marks the beginning of a new beginning (as President Obama cannot run for office again) and with that, Americans will be subjected to an exhaustive gauntlet of campaign ads, calls, and donation requests. Iowa also marks the point when we, as Americans, start to get some real data about who the next leader of our country will be.
Prior to actually voting for someone, all we have had to go on are the polls conducted by research groups and media organizations. While these polls give some insight into the general state of mind of American voters, we have also seen that one debate performance can launch a candidate into a leading position for a time being.
This is especially true with the leaderless Republican party. Through the summer and fall, Republican voters have acted like middle-school children trying to figure out who they wanted to date. First it was Bush, then Fiorina, then Carson, and now Cruz (all while maintaining a huge crush on Donald Trump). None of these “picks” lasted longer than a a few months as the spotlight tends to reveal the truth and subsequently forcing those candidates back down the charts.
So who will win in Iowa?
For the Republicans, the winner with be Senator Ted Cruz. Looking at maps of previous caucuses in the state, it becomes obvious that Iowans love both Evangelical and Libertarian leaning candidates. Rick Santorum and Ron Paul, being the best examples. Cruz represents both to some extent and is also currently tied with Donald Trump in the national polls, lending to votes by name recognition. Second place will go to Donald Trump and third place will go to Ben Carson, who remains very popular with the very religious.
For the Democrats the race is less a race and more a head-to-head competition. Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders going into today’s caucus (though the difference is close to margin of error). Sanders, though, has a message that has been building quite dramatically over the past 6 months and strong support from millennial voters. If (and here we are assuming they will) those millennial voters turn out, Sanders will narrowly win Iowa.