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  • 2016 Iowa Caucuses

    Andrew Friedman, 2016 Iowa Caucuses

    Iowa

    Tonight I am scheduled to appear on the CNBC Nightly Business Report to discuss yesterday's results in the Iowa caucuses.  Following is a summary of our thoughts.

    In last month's white paper, The Metrics and Dynamics Underlying the 2016 Election, we said that a lack of ground organization might ultimately trip up Donald Trump's campaign.  Yesterday’s results in Iowa reflected that deficiency.  Trump generates large crowds and great excitement when he flies in to speak.  But when he departs he leaves behind relatively few volunteers knocking on doors  - and little guidance as to which doors are worthy of a knock.  Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio developed ground organizations

    and predictive voter data greatly superior to Trump's.  Ultimately that proved decisive. Lack of ground support might not deter Trump in New Hampshire.  But it could be meaningful in March when the candidates must campaign simultaneously in a number of states.  It is too early to count Trump out, but he will need to shore up his ground operation to continue to do well.  That might be harder after showing vulnerability in Iowa.

    We believe the Republican race ultimately will come down to two candidates, Rubio, representing the moderate / establishment wing of the Republican Party, and Cruz, representing the conservative / tea party wing. 

    Our paper also noted that 42% of voters are Independent -- the highest percentage ever for a presidential election -- and that capturing those votes could be a key to winning the presidency.  We stated, "A candidate who emphasizes fiscal over social issues and exhibits a willingness to work with the other party once elected appears to have a better chance of capturing Independent votes."  In this regard, a moderate Republican should have an advantage over a conservative – who comes from a wing that tends to be more ideological. 

    The dream ticket for the Republicans in the general election?  We believe it is Marco Rubio at the top of the ticket and John Kasich as Vice President (if Kasich indeed would accept that role). Florida and Ohio are must-win states for the Republicans.  Both candidates are moderates who can capture Independent votes.  Rubio has the added advantage of perhaps swaying some Latino voters to the Republican side.  Will Republicans in fact choose a moderate over a conservative?  That still remains to be seen. 

    On the Democratic side, we continue to believe Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination.  Iowa (and New Hampshire for that matter) have a lower percentage of non-white voters than do many other states.  Clinton, in many ways an extension the Obama administration of which she was a part, is likely to do well with those voters in the later primaries. 

    Copyright Andrew H. Friedman 2016

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