By Melissa Ruby,
Domestic News Writer
The Iowa Caucus signaled the start of what promises to be a very interesting primary season for the competition of a coveted seat, the President of the United States of America. The primary election season began Monday, Feb. 1, with polls showing every indication that Trump would be the Republican victor and Hillary the corresponding Democrat. Nearly every poll favored Trump. As published on Jan. 30 by The Guardian, Trump held a five point lead over Senator Ted Cruz. Predictions held that Cruz would place second and Rubio third. However, results were not as expected.
Poll numbers were very close coming up to the Iowa Caucus. For Sanders and Clinton, there was only a three point difference, barely enough to make a call. This accurately reflected the Democrats experience on Feb. 1, as Clinton won by only 2 delegates and 0.29 percent of the vote. Martin O’Malley, who has since suspended his campaign, received a mere 0.57 percent of the vote, according to the De Moines Register. The vote was so close that in other states, there would have been recounts but not in Iowa. Sander’s campaign, however, has asked that the raw vote totals of each precinct be released. Some suspect that errors or voter fraud may have occurred. The Iowa leadership, however, has refused to release the information Sanders requested.
While for some, the results of the Democratic Primary may have been disappointing, Sanders has by no means lost his ability to win the nomination of the general election. Indeed, the New Hampshire primary promises to be a very big win for the candidate. Per CNN, a poll conducted by New Hampshire State University shows that Bernie Sanders leading 301 over Hillary Clinton. This is a much more significant lead for Sanders than Clinton had in Iowa.
The Republicans had their own surprises at the Iowa Caucus. Trump, who was leading in the polls, fell behind at the actual event where Cruz took the lead. The margin was not very great, however, but it was enough to score Cruz one more delegate than either Trump or Rubio, who tied. Cruz, who in his victory speech, said that he won the vote of 46,608 Iowans, claiming significance to the win by saying “that [it] is the most votes every cast for any Republican primary winner.”
Cruz did not get to bask in the glory for very long, however, because Trump, in his fashion, accused Cruz of impropriety in the time leading up to the caucus. Trump, via his Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, wrote “During primetime of the Iowa Caucus, Cruz put out a release that @RealBenCarson was quitting the race, and to caucus (or vote) for Cruz.” His claim was that voters chose Cruz over Carson because of this claim. Since this point, Cruz has been attempting to settle the matter, claiming that there was ample evidence, via a CNN news report, that Carson was indeed leaving. CNN reported Brooke Baldwin protested this accusation. None of Cruz’s staffers have been fired for the false representation, as Cruz has made clear he will make no one a scapegoat for an honest mistake.
Perhaps, however, the most intriguing part of the first caucus in the 2016 primary season was the weather forecast. The weekend preceding the Iowa caucus brought with it predictions of blizzard-like conditions that were to dump six to twelve inches of snow in some Iowa counties.
For political pundits, this presented the opportunity to discuss how the snow would affect voter turn-out. Sites such as AccuWeather noted that weather has an effect on voter turnout. The concern expressed was particularly for the female vote, as according to Rosemary Radich, “women voters tend to be affected by the cold more than men.” Poor weather conditions also deter younger voters from turning out, which AccuWeather predicted could be problematic for Sanders. Monkey Cage from the Washington Post also speculated that a winter snow storm could hurt Trump.
Per the Buffalo News, one potential reason for this is that Trump supporters tend to be new would-be voters. Additionally, new voters who may already have their doubts about spending an evening listening to “boring” speeches would be less likely to brave the snow. Despite the swath of predictions which the impending snow storm provided, the snow did not arrive in time to have the pivotal effects which arose in speculations.
While the events of the Iowa Caucus might have been interesting they are by no means decisive.
By any count it was a tight race and the wins had by Clinton and Cruz are by no means sufficient carry them to the general election, much less the White House. The New Hampshire primary, scheduled for Feb. 9 promises to be a new playing field with different dynamics.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, February 9th print edition.
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