First take: Iowa presidential primaries
On Monday, Feb. 1, the Presidential race started in earnest for both sides with the Iowa primaries. The first voting saw Cruz come out victorious, with the race still too close to call on the Democratic side at the time of writing. Even with the voting winding down, the race is just getting started. Here are some preliminary takes on the results from this night’s caucuses:
No lead is unassailable:
The surprise of the night was Cruz going to knock off what was seeming like an invincible Donald winning streak. Despite Trump’s brash posturing and confident lead in the polls, Cruz came in to get a reported 28% of the caucus-goers to Trump’s 24%. While Trump gave a speech saying he was ‘honored’ to be second place (take notes people, you’re never seeing that one again), it will be interesting to see how each of the candidates play this out over the upcoming weeks in this tight race.
Likewise on the Democratic side, the incredibly close race between Clinton and Sanders is sure to electrify the competition. While this close race may have been more expected than Cruz’s victory, the extremely thin margin will make the Democratic race a bit more interesting to follow moving on. It was even reported in theweek.com that one Iowa precinct was dead even between Clinton and sanders and the result was decided by a coin toss –it does not get any closer than that.
Unless you are at the back of the pack:
While there were upsets at the front and close races, it seemed as if the rest of the field dragged farther and farther behind throughout the Iowa caucuses. Early on in the proceedings Martin O’Malley suspended his campaign for the Democratic nomination, only further confirming that the Democrats have a two-horse race on their hands.
The republicans, on the other hand, had a serious split in the field. The top three candidates of Cruz, Trump, and Rubio were reported to have taken over 75% of the vote. This leaves the rest of the still-large GOP field left to fight over the table scraps. Rubio’s better-than-expected showing might spell disaster for some of the other campaigns, and it will be interesting to see if any of the Republican hopefuls will go the way of Martin O’Malley and many others in throwing in the towel.
The Presidency is still wide open:
All these results really seem to confirm is that no one knows what will happen over the rest of this wild Presidential season. The shifts in the Republican field and the uncertainty of the primaries to come only adds to the mystery of who the Republican nominee will be. And the neck-and-neck race in Iowa between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton lends further credence to Sanders as a legitimate challenge to Clinton. It will be interesting to see if Sanders can keep his numbers close to Hillary and possibly pull ahead for the Democratic nomination.
While there will likely be far more in-depth analysis of these results in the weeks to come and each of the campaigns is already starting their respective spin machines, the Iowa results are sure to only further electrify and increase the speculation on this year’s presidential primaries.