The Iowa Caucus proved to be more of a thrill ride than anyone expected. The Clinton-Sanders margin was almost negligible and the GOP had 3 candidates taking the majority of the Republican votes. In yesterday’s prediction thread we stated that Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders would be Monday night’s victors.
Ted Cruz did in fact win with Donald Trump taking second place (also predicted) and Marco Rubio taking third place. Rubio’s strong showing was not expected in Iowa as the Evangelical population pointed more to a strong Ben Carson showing (who finished forth with around 10% of the vote and was our predicted 3rd place finisher). Rubio’s win was bolstered further by a key endorsement from Tom Scott. This result for Rubio will likely lead to a major jump in the national polls.
The most disappointing performances within the GOP had to come from Rand Paul and Jeb Bush. Rand’s father Ron finished in third place during the 2012 Iowa Caucus and there was some thought that he would capture a bit of that magic. At fifth place with only 4.5% of the vote, the Paul campaign has to be frustrated by their candidates inability to grab real traction within the party.
For all of the disappointment felt by the Paul campaign, the Jeb Bush camp must be in outright panic. With millions of dollars spent and coming off his strongest debate performance yet, the early GOP favorite had to expect better than 2.8% of the vote. We may be seeing the last days of the Jeb! experience.
In all, don’t expect the GOP candidates to throw in the towel before next week’s Primary in NH. NH tends to be more friendly to establishment / moderate Republicans, many of whom were at the bottom of this poll. After NH, though, we expect several campaigns to close up shop.
For the Democrats, the story got interesting in Iowa. Martin O’Malley – debt strapped and with little support – suspended his campaign. O’Malley is often rumored to be interested in a VP nomination, but that may be in doubt now that the Democrat Party has seen what he would actually bring to the table. Staying in this race through the Iowa Caucus may have hurt O’Malley’s political career more than it helped.
Clinton narrowly defeated Bernie Sanders in a state that she had a decent lead in before the votes were cast. While this is a technical win for Hillary, it was also a spiritual win for Sanders, though it was not without controversy. No other candidate has come from the fringe to the mainstream like he has and with a monster lead in New Hampshire, he is going to force Clinton to play major defense over the coming weeks.
One additional point of note about the Democrat voters shown during the CNN broadcast was the difference in voter profiles between those who chose Clinton and those who chose Sanders. The voters that valued “experience” overwhelmingly chose Clinton, while those that wanted “someone who shares my values” overwhelmingly chose Sanders. Look for this information to be used by both campaigns going forward.