Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Donald Trump's shocking loss in Iowa caucuses: Not so much

I've already encountered numerous headlines that refer to yesterday's Iowa caucuses results as 'shocking'.

That's what happens when people look at the world through a Donald Trump lens.

Here's the thing.  

One week before the Iowa caucuses, Trump's polling average, as tracked by Real Clear Politics, was 33.2%.

On the day before the Iowa caucuses, Trump's polling average was 28.6%, a drop of 4.8 percentage points.

Yesterday, Trump received 24.3% of the Iowa caucuses vote, underperforming by 5.3 percentage points.

This result will continue to feed the discussion about his ground game and the voting history of his supporters.

As for Marco Rubio, one week before the Iowa caucuses, his polling avarage was 12.0%.

On the day before the Iowa caucuses, his polling average stood at 16.9%, an increase of 4.9 percentage points.

Yesterday, Rubio received 23.1% of the Iowa caucuses vote, overperforming by 6.2 percentage points and nearly doubling his polling average from a week earlier.

Rubio's unexpectedly strong finish was driven by urban Republican establishment voters in the following counties (from west to east):

  • Dallas (rapidly growing exurb county west of Des Moines)
  • Polk (Des Moines)
  • Story (Ames, home of Iowa State University)
  • Johnson (Iowa City, home of University of Iowa)
  • Scott (Davenport/Quad Cities)
Perhaps an underrepresented group in the polls?

Ted Cruz's ground game, already well established last fall in the early voting states, is likely to take him deep into the race for the Republican Presidential nomination.

Going into New Hampshire, the Republican primary appears to have been reduced to a 3-man race.  But John Kasich is hoping to change this view.  (He and Cruz, tied for 2nd place, currently have the same NH polling average - 11.5%.  And Trump, soaring above the rest at 33.2%, has yet to lose a poll there since mid-July.)

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