Swing State Pres

Monday, February 1, 2016

Iowa Prediction: Cruz Will Win Three-Way Horse Race While Hillary Holds Off Bernie

Iowa is difficult to predict.  You have heard all the caveats.  Primary polling is tough enough to reliably use for predictions, and caucuses are a quantum degree of difficulty beyond that.  To vote in a primary requires a standard trip to the voting booth, though even that rather simple demand draws only the faithful.  But a caucus requires true diligence, sitting in a gymnasium or a home for much of an evening until the votes are cast.  Divining in survey form who will actually do that is a work in progress in the industry.  And in a year like this, when two of the major candidates, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, are relying on a huge turnout among populations that normally would sit it out, the young (Sanders) and the disaffected (to some degree, both), makes it all the more problematic.  Predicting turnout in Iowa is very difficult.  (Oh yeah, throw in a potential blizzard.)

Caveats aside, I now take the plunge:  Hillary Clinton will win the Iowa Democratic caucus by four points, while Ted Cruz will win a three-way GOP Iowa Caucus horse race by one point.  Cruz will defeat Donald Trump by that single point, and a late surging Marco Rubio will close to within a few points of both.

Here are the averages of the last five polls.  On the GOP side, Cruz appears to be losing a bit of momentum, while Trump is holding.  But the late break is for Marco Rubio, with the latest two polls showing a sharp uptick in his support.  You can see the trends below.  Essentially, what will even the outcome from the latest polls is a modest shortfall in Trump’s hoped-for turnout, Cruz’s slow decline but strong depth of support among the Iowa evangelicals, and Rubio’s late charge among those who are making up their minds in favor or a more mainstream candidate (if such a word can be applied to Rubio).

IOWA
Dec '15
Jan 1-12
Jan 13-21
Last Five 1/26 - 1/31
Trump
27
27
31
27
Cruz
28
27
25
24
Rubio
12
12
12
17
Carson
11
9
8
8
Paul
3
4
3
5
Bush
5
4
5
4
Huckabee
2
2
3
3
Kasich
2
2
3
3
Christie
2
4
3
3
Fiorina
3
2
2
3
Santorum
1
1
1
1
Other/NA
4
3
2
2

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton has been ahead in 6 of the last 7 polls, and by reasonably steady margins.  Sanders had a surge in January to get the race into the single digits, but the dynamics, as you can see below, have not changed much since then.  Clinton’s lead is now 7 points on average.

IOWA
Dec '15
Jan 1-21
Last Five 1/24 - 1/31
Clinton
52
48
49
Sanders
36
42
42
O'Malley
6
5
4
Other/NA
6
5
5

Sanders, of course, is relying on Obama-esque turnout to bring him home.  But Obama at this stage of the game in 2008 was in a virtual dead-heat with both Clinton and Edwards, and ultimately won by 8 points over both of them.  Sanders would need to pull off similar turnout magic just to pull even with Clinton, and I don’t see that happening.  He will narrow the gap a bit, but not overtake her.

So, here are the outcomes I am envisioning.  A difficult way to start the 2016 predictions, but here goes!

IOWA GOP
Prediction
IOWA DEM
Prediction
Cruz
25
Clinton
50
Trump
24
Sanders
46
Rubio
22
O'Malley
4
Carson
7
Paul
5
Bush
4
Huckabee
4
Kasich
3
Christie
3
Fiorina
2
Santorum
1


No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a comment