Yesterday evening, the political world spun on its axis. It was the day of the Iowa caucuses and these all important votes threw up more than a few surprises. So just who won the Iowa caucuses?
The Iowa caucuses were the first in a long series of votes to determine who will compete in the US general Presidential election. Previously I discussed who I thought might win the Iowa caucuses and on the Republican side it seemed obvious. Billionaire Donald Trump was leading his closest rival in the contest, US Senator for Texas Ted Cruz, by 32.1% to 24.7% in Iowa opinion polls.
What a difference a day makes. News agency the BBC reported that with 99% of the votes in the Republican Iowa caucuses recorded, Cruz beat Trump a resounding 27.6% to 24.3% This means that the Texas Senator will take eight Iowa delegates to the GOP convention this year where they will vote to determine the Party’s candidate, while Trump only secured the votes of seven delegates. Interestingly, Trump only just beat establishment candidate Marco Rubio, a US Senator for the State of Florida. He grabbed 23.1% of the vote and seven delegates, a resounding win for a man who before Iowa, didn’t have a hope of securing the Party’s nomination.
Now let’s turn out attention to the Democrats. I didn’t really have a clue who’d win the Democratic Iowa caucuses; former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or US Senator for Vermont, Bernie Sanders. Iowa opinion polls showed that Clinton was leading Sanders by 47.5% to 44.2% but as I previously noted, the two candidates had been switching positions in the polls for weeks.
As it turned out, it was practically a statistical tie. With 99% of the votes recorded in the Democratic Iowa caucuses, Clinton just edged out Sanders by 49.8% to 49.3%. Therefore, she’ll take 22 Iowa delegates to the Democratic Party convention later this year, while Sanders secured 21 delegates. Their only other competitor, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, grabbed just 0.5% of the vote and subsequently dropped out of the race altogether.
Turning to New Hampshire
Now that Iowa’s out of the way, let’s turn our attention to New Hampshire. They’ll hold their primaries on 9th February 2016 and opinion polls show that Trump and Sanders are set to triumph in Iowa. According to the Huffington Post, who have combined the latest opinion polls, Trump currently leads Cruz in New Hampshire by 33.8% to 12.4%. Meanwhile, the Huffington Post’s opinion poll figures for the Democratic New Hampshire Primary show Bernie Sanders beating Hillary Clinton 55.6% to 37.3%.
I should explain that you can’t use the Iowa caucuses to determine what will happen in New Hampshire. They’re two entirely different states with different voters. Cruz beat Trump in Iowa because he managed to turn out the State’s strong evangelical base who are the cornerstone of his campaign. This voter bloc won’t factor in anywhere near as strongly in New Hampshire, so it makes more sense that Trump may actually win this time. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders has been leading in New Hampshire for months and he is the Senator of the neighbouring State of Vermont, so experts have long believed that even if he didn’t win in Iowa, he’d climb to victory in New Hampshire.
The Iowa caucuses may well have started a political earthquake. Very few people believed Cruz would win but he did and a lot of pundits were saying that Hillary would trounce Sanders, whereas on the night she only grabbed victory by the skin of her teeth. With polls showing that Trump and Sanders will clinch wins in the upcoming New Hampshire primaries, the contest to see who will compete in the general US Presidential election later this year are just starting to heat up!