Iowa Caucus

Cruz Wins Iowa, But What’s Next?

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Who will occupy it next?

 

The results of the Iowa caucuses have shown us several important things; 1) that everybody hates the establishment of both parties, 2) no one trusts the media anymore, and 3) pollsters have no clue how to conduct polling in the fast-paced world of smartphones and social media.

Ted Cruz easily won the Iowa caucuses on the Republican side, despite being behind Trump by as much as 20-points in some polls taken just before the caucus, and despite the entirety of the GOP establishment doing their best to take him down. In fact, it is arguably the low regard among the GOP establishment in which Cruz is held that gives him such popularity among the base. Despite being hated by the establishment, Cruz’s net favorability leads all Republican candidates with a rating of +45% (61% favorable, 16% unfavorable) among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, according to a recent Gallup poll. Establishment favorite Jeb Bush has a net favorability of -1%.

Ted Cruz Trumps Trump In Iowa

This is Y-UUUUGE!

Despite being down as much as 21% to Trump in some polls, despite (or because of?) record turnout in Iowa (which pundits predicted would mean a Trump victory), despite being savaged by the GOP establishment, despite attacks from Iowa’s popular 6-term governor, and despite his principled refusal to bow to King Corn and back away from his calls to end corn subsidies…

Ted Cruz emerged victorious in Iowa, completely changing the dynamic of this race.

 

Last night’s winners:

Ted Cruz – wins Iowa when the odds were against him, and now goes into the South Carolina and Nevada primaries with momentum, the highest favorability ratings of all GOP candidates, and more cash on hand than the next four candidates combined.

Marco Rubio – Rubio surged late and almost beat out Trump for 2nd place, and this can only help him going into New Hampshire. How long will it be before the GOP establishment pressures Bush, Kasich, and Christie to get out so they can consolidate around Rubio to prevent a Cruz nomination?

Conservatives – last night proved that having a conservative candidate who is unapologetic in his conservatism, optimistic in his outlook for the future, and who has a history of standing on principle is a great draw at a time when politicians in general, and the GOP brand and establishment in particular, have favorability ratings just below hemorrhoids.

Strange Bedfellows Lead to the Iowa Caucus

With the Iowa caucuses less than a week away, on the Republican side this is shaping up to be one of the strangest nomination processes of my lifetime. Late last year, Scott Walker was the presumptive front-runner until he declared, after which his campaign imploded in a rapid and spectacular way. Jeb Bush was likewise a favorite, but having spent well over $100 million he is almost within the margin of error in most polls. Marco Rubio was the next hope for the establishment, palatable to them and most of the base, but his participation in the Gang of Eight immigration amnesty effort has damaged him. Ben Carson is imminently likeable and moral, but his near-comatose demeanor does not inspire confidence that he is ready for a dangerous world.

Chris Christie has been dogged by his anti-gun stance and his post-Sandy tarmac bromance with Obama. Rand Paul has not been able to recreate the fervor among his base that his father was able to. Carly Fiorina has great debate performances but is invisible in between. John Kasich comes across as an angry scold having a seizure. Rick Santorum? Mike Huckabee? No chance for either, but maybe they’ll get a good book deal for their efforts.

The Importance of Being Ronald Ernest Paul

There will be a lot of disappointed Ron Paul supporters  trying to make sense of the the Iowa Caucuses. Rick Santorum, liberal and warmonger (sorry for being redundant), came from nowhere to take second place after entrance polls showed Ron Paul on his way to a landslide victory in Iowa.

The disappointment is to be expected. Ron Paul supporters are emotionally, financially and physically invested in their candidate. Anything other than a decisive win is a disappointment. However, there is no rational reason to be down in the mouth or fatalistic.

The Iowa caucuses have proven that Ron Paul’s candidacy is one to be reckoned with. In every way, the establishment and old media have tried to tear down the man and his ideas only to be repudiated at every turn.

During caucus result coverage, Fox News trotted out every neoconservative hack available. Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer (does anyone notice he seems to have hired Micheal Jackson’s plastic surgeon?) and Karl Rove were put in front of cameras to explain that Ron Paul, whose campaign is fueled entirely by a grass-roots army, was not a serious candidate and “dangerous” to America.

Ironically, they were correct on one count. Ron Paul is dangerous to the Woodrow Wilson/Leon Trotsky communist wing of the Republican and Democrat establishment. Their attempt to cover up abject terror after considering their political and financial futures should a Ron Paul Presidency occur, was completely transparent.

Mitt Romney takes the Iowa caucus

Shortly before 3am, the Iowa Republican Party declared that Mitt Romney had won the Iowa caucus over Rick Santorum, who appeared out of nowhere to be a serious player, by just eight votes (both had 25% of the vote) in what is the closest race ever in the state. Ron Paul, who was among the frontrunners going into Tuesday, finished in 3rd with 21%.

Here are the full results (numbers are rounded up via CNN):

  • Mitt Romney: 25%
  • Rick Santorum: 25%
  • Ron Paul: 21%
  • Newt Gingrich: 13%
  • Rick Perry: 10%
  • Michele Bachmann: 5%
  • Jon Huntsman: 1%

The next week is going to be really interesting. Gingrich seems to be ready to go scorched earth on Romney, which may have long-term implications. Rick Perry stopped short of dropping out last night, but said that he would be heading back to Texas today to determine his next step. Read between the lines here, because Perry is supposed to be in South Carolina today. Surprisingly, Bachmann gave no sign that she is dropping out, but the indication is that she will drop today after cancelling a trip to South Carolina. She’ll hold a press conference in Iowa in about an hour.

We’ll have more on all of this and its implications.

GOP Presidential Power Rankings: Eve of the Iowa Caucus

We’re almost there, folks. Tomorrow, Iowans will head to the various caucus locations to cast there ballots for the Republican nomination for president. Who is the favorite right now? It’s hard to say, because three candidates are in a dogfight for the top.

On New Year’s Eve, the Des Moines Register released their final poll for the caucus showing Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum rounding out the top, in that order:

  • Mitt Romney: 24% (+8)
  • Ron Paul: 22% (+4)
  • Rick Santorum: 15% (+9)
  • Newt Gingrich: 12% (-13)
  • Rick Perry: 11% (+5)
  • Michele Bachmann: 7% (-1)
  • Jon Huntsman: 2% (—)

While the poll shows Romney and Paul in a virtual tie for the top, here is the kicker; Santorum took 21% in that final two days of the poll, which is leading many pundits to say that he is the likely favorite heading into tomorrow.

Public Policy Polling also released their final poll for the caucus. They too show Santorum surging, though still in third. There is bad news, despite leading in the poll, for Paul:

  • Ron Paul: 20% (-4)
  • Mitt Romney: 19% (-1)
  • Rick Santorum: 18% (+8)
  • Newt Gingrich: 14% (+1)
  • Rick Perry: 10% (—)
  • Michele Bachmann: 8% (-3)
  • Jon Huntsman: 4% (—)

We’ll go over more in these polls in our rankings.

The Rankings

GOP Presidential Power Rankings: Iowa Edition

We’re just a week away from the first votes being cast in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Now that Christmas is behind us, look for news out of the Hawkeye State to be non-stop over the next week. We’ll be posting whatever polls come out and we’ll do one final Power Ranking on Monday.

You can see the latest polling out of Iowa here.

Ron Paul: Depending on the polls, Ron Paul is either in first by himself or his is in a statistical tie. His campaign has the best organization, but the recent coverage of the 20 year-old newsletters could threaten his momentum. It’s too early to say he’ll win, but if his campaign can stay on message, Paul could shock the establishment, which will be fun to watch.

Mitt Romney: Recent polls show Romney gaining some ground in Iowa, and he is seeking to capitalize on it by going on a three-day bus tour of the state in advance of the January 3rd caucus. If he wins the caucus and then wins New Hampshire with a decent enough margin, Romney may very well see a boost in other early and put talk of a long, drawn-out primary to bed.

Newt Gingrich: While he managed to benefit in the polls with Herman Cain’s exit from the race, Gingrich hasn’t pieced together a strong team in Iowa. This matter since a well organized ground game is important in getting people to locations to cast their vote. It would be unwise to say Gingrich “won’t win,” but it certainly seems unlikely.

Paul Derangement Syndrome and the Iowa Caucuses

In what is surely a complete coincidence, Ron Paul’s rise in the Iowa caucus polls has been accompanied by an incredible rise in anti-Paul rhetoric on the right.  Now, certainly some of this is valid - I, like many others, am very bothered by Paul’s newsletters and many of his associations.  But the level of hate and anger at Paul exceeds even that directed at Obama.  It’s routine to see Paul referred to as anti-American, a charge heretofore reserved for liberals.  It has even led to many claiming that, despite months of fetishistic obsession with the Iowa caucuses, Paul winning those caucuses would somehow render them meaningless.

Some, like Margaret Carlson, argue that a Paul win in Iowa would reduce the Iowa polls to obsolescence.  She makes a number of other arguments as to why Iowa should be reduced in meaning, but the central tenet is that if Paul wins, they are essentially done.  Now, I’m not going to defend the idea that Iowa’s claim to the first vote in the primary is somehow sacred, because I generally feel it is not.  But if the caucuses were irrelevant, they have been so for a long time.  It is nothing new that Iowa is not representative of the nation as a whole, that it is a poor predictor for eventual winner, or that the style of the caucuses is so unique as to be an entirely different beast from normal primary elections.

Michele Bachmann wins the Ames Straw Poll

The results are in from the Ames Straw Poll, where several thousand Republicans cast ballots for their favorite GOP candidate. The results may be somewhat surprising given how in the run up to the poll many observers seemed to be writing it off and debating whether it meant anything since Ron Paul seemed to be poised for a strong showing and Mitt Romney had not paid much attention to Iowa.

Well, he had a strong showing, but finished 152 votes behind Michele Bachmann, an Iowa native, in arguably the most important event in the GOP race thus far.

  • Michele Bachmann: 28.55% (4823 votes)
  • Ron Paul: 27.65% (4671 votes)
  • Tim Pawlenty: 13.57% (2293 votes)
  • Rick Santorum: 9.81% (1657 votes)
  • Herman Cain: 8.62% (1456 votes)
  • Rick Perry: 3.62% (718 votes) write-in
  • Mitt Romney: 3.36% (567 votes)
  • Newt Gingrich: 2.28% (385 votes)
  • Jon Huntsman: 0.41% (69 votes)
  • Thad McCotter: 0.21% (35 votes)
  • Other: 0.96% (162 votes)

The results are obviously good news for Bachmann. Paul’s showing was still very strong, despite finishing second. Pawlenty built off of a better debate performance on Thursday to finish third. Santorum finished ahead of Cain, who is effectively a non-factor in the race at this point.

Santorum’s big government record finally getting attention

Now that Rick Santorum has managed to get some attention after a good showing in Iowa, more information is coming out about his big government past. I touched on this earlier this week, noting that Santorum backed expanding entitlements and bloated budgets. But more pundits are starting to pay attention to his record.

Writing at the National Review, Michael Tanner explains that Santorum is pretty much in line with the “compassionate conservativism” offered by George W. Bush:

When Hillary Clinton was justly excoriated by conservatives for her book It Takes A Village, which advocated greater government involvement in our lives, Rick Santorum countered with his book, It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, which advocated greater government involvement in our lives. Among the many government programs he supported: national service, publicly financed trust funds for children, community-investment incentives, and economic-literacy programs in “every school in America” (italics in original).

Santorum’s voting record shows that he embraced George Bush–style “big-government conservatism.” For example, he supported the Medicare prescription-drug benefit and No Child Left Behind.


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