On Monday, the 2016 GOP presidential primary season formally began when Iowa voters caucused to select their choice for the nomination. With 100% of precincts reporting, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won the caucuses with 27.6% of the vote, enough to earn him 8 delegates to the RNC in Cleveland. Poll-frontrunner Donald Trump, who Mock Convention predicted would win the Hawkeye state, came in second with 24.3% of the vote and 7 delegates while Senator Marco Rubio of Florida came in a close third with 23.1% of the vote and 7 delegates. The Iowa caucuses were a clear win for both Cruz and Rubio as both exceeded expectations. Indeed, Rubio’s close third-place finish nearly surpassed Trump, giving the Florida senator clear momentum as he tries to cement his place as the “establishment” candidate going into New Hampshire. Despite leading in the polls heading into Monday, Trump failed to deliver the big victory he promised.
Mock Convention predicted Trump would emerge the popular vote winner from Iowa and be tied with Cruz at 9 delegates apiece. While our prediction was not far off, the political team is readjusting its focus before the New Hampshire primaries on Tuesday, February 9th. Looking back, too much emphasis was placed on the preferences of first-time caucus goers who would support Trump if they showed up to vote. As history tells us, potential first-time voters are unlikely to get to the polls, and Iowa in 2016 was no exception. Those caucus goers who had voted before tended to support Cruz, and he ultimately emerged the victor. The Iowa results are very informative to the Mock Convention political team in that we can now begin to deflate some of Trump’s high poll numbers elsewhere. This is not to say that Trump will not win New Hampshire, South Carolina, or the ultimate nomination; rather, his current poll numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt. Despite a record voter turnout, it seems as if those who claim to support Trump aren’t actually showing up to cast a ballot.