Iowan pollsters had to have left the caucuses last week scratching their heads. They predicted a substantial victory for Donald Trump, and all they could ask was how he could have lost, and by so much. How did his numbers not save him? Some polls had been giving him up to “28 percent of likely caucus-goers, compared to 23 percent for Senator Ted Cruz.” The actual vote had those numbers flipped, with Cruz taking Iowa, Trump at 24 percent and [Senator Marco] Rubio at 23. Pollsters overestimated Trump by about 5 percent and underestimated Rubio by about 6-7 percent.
What’s the takeaway? Trump’s poll numbers, his trusted talking point, were worthless.
They could not save him. Will they be able to save him in New Hampshire?
Well, as troubled as pollsters were after Iowa, they are even more so by New Hampshire. New Hampshire is frustrating because their voters are volatile. The Huffington Post reported that “33 percent of Republicans in the Boston Globe poll say they might change their minds between now and the New Hampshire primary.” So that’s helpful.
What we do know is that Trump seems to be holding a steady lead there, but his second place finish in Iowa affected his unbeatable image and his supporters are not as reliable in terms of turnout.
Rubio gained a lot of momentum with his close third place finish, but his debate performance on Saturday left much to be desired for his supporters. Some think this may not affect his performance, but, like the rest of America, we will have to wait and see.
Finally, the curious case of Ted Cruz may leave us all stumped- voters and pollsters. The current prediction is that Cruz will perform poorly in New Hampshire because it does not reflect the same evangelical focus that Iowa does. Yet, his campaign managers there believe that “you’re going to see a lot more liberty Republicans be more of a base of his support,” which can include the more secular, independent voters in New Hampshire. For Cruz, this primary is a major test of how wide his appeal really is.
Follow @TCC_US for results and commentary on the New Hampshire primary to see how the pollsters did!
Editor’s Note: This article was written in the days prior to the New Hampshire primary, and does not reflect the actual primary results.