Victory is in the Eye of the Beholder: 2016 Iowa Caucuses

February 3, 2016

Every vote counted in Monday’s Iowa Caucuses, where there was a historic turnout for both parties. By the end of Monday evening, Iowa’s Republican Party counted over 180,000 voters, almost 60,000 more participants than 2012’s record of about 121,500 voters; similarly, the Democratic Party tallied just over 171,000 voters, as one of its “best turnouts ever.” CBS News entrance polls noted that a slightly larger fraction of first time caucus-goers made up the voting body compared to previous caucuses.

Following a virtual tie and roughly a dozen coin tosses, former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was declared the winner over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. With less than a percentage point between the two Democratic frontrunners, Senator Sanders is viewing Iowa as a “giant step” in his campaign, considering many pundits initially dismissed his chances of viably challenging Secretary Clinton in the Hawkeye State. Secretary Clinton will need to gain ground on Senator Sanders going into New Hampshire next week, where recent polls indicate that she is 20 points behind the Vermont Senator.

On the Republican side, Texas Senator Ted Cruz edged out Donald Trump with 28% of state delegates to Trump’s 24%. Senator Marco Rubio came in a strong third place with 23% of delegates – nearly eclipsing Trump. What happens next with the crowded GOP field of candidates? Many polls suggest that Trump still retains a significant lead over Senator Cruz in New Hampshire, but all of the remaining GOP candidates have already turned their sights to the Granite State as they seek to gain momentum in the nation’s first primary.  The New Hampshire primary is expected to further winnow the field as GOP hopefuls Governors Kasich, Christie and Bush need to score significant support to climb out of the single digits and remain contenders.

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