No doubt it was a big win for Ted Cruz with 28 percent in last night’s Iowa caucuses. It was a must win for him. And he pulled it off. In fact if he had lost Iowa his campaign might have collapsed.
In some ways Iowa is a good state for Cruz. It is evangelical and socially conservative, and while it may not be representative of the country or even representative of the Republican Party, it is definitely Cruz country.
However, in some ways, and in terms of possible momentum, I think Rubio was the biggest winner last night.
Rubio outperformed all pre-election polls. I believe in the last Des Moines Register poll Rubio polled at 11 percent. Throughout the fall he never broke single digits. On election night he placed third with 23 percent, within one point of Trump’s second place showing. Rubio closed so fast that if the election took place next week, he might have won.
I think Rubio goes forward with great momentum. I think Jeb Bush will drop out and the little support he has will go to Rubio. In effect, Rubio becomes the so-called “establishment candidate.”
As for Trump, I think he is in serious trouble, not so much because he underperformed pre-election polls, but because Republican voters are now scrutinizing him! Despite the best efforts of the conservative talk radio industry (that is Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, et al.) Trump is being exposed as a fraud who is not a conservative.
Trump went into Tuesday night with a five-point lead and lost by four points. Perhaps skipping the final debate was a mistake.
I will make a prediction for you. Trump does not win a single state.