Winners and losers in Iowa

Here are the final Iowa results.

Iowa results

I stayed up until 11:00 am ET last night to see the Iowa caucus results. By that time, the Republican side had been decided with Ted Cruz beating Donald Trump, and Marco Rubio coming in a close third. This was obviously good for Cruz and Rubio and disappointing for Trump but I cannot see it affecting the results much in the next contest in New Hampshire on Tuesday, February 9. That is a primary and thus less volatile than the quirky caucus process and in that race Trump is still way ahead of the entire pack with 33%, Cruz second at 12%, and Rubio in fifth place (after Kasich at Bush) with 10%.

The real nail biter was on the Democratic side with the final result being 49.9% for Hillary Clinton and 49.6% for Bernie Sanders. When I went to sleep, 90% of the precincts had reported and the lead wavered around that narrow margin of 0.3%. It was clear that people were on edge but rationally speaking, the race was over. The result was going to be extremely close either way and the final order did not really matter since this was not an election where even a one vote margin would determine who would get into office and who would go home. This contest was for delegates and at most there would be just a one or two delegate shift out of the thousands that would end up at the Democratic convention. So the final result largely for bragging rights. But clearly for some political observers placing a label of winner and second matters and so the wait for the final result was breathless.

In the end, Clinton got 21 22 delegates and Sanders got 20 21. On the Republican side, Cruz got 8 delegates and both Trump and Rubio got 7 each. So basically, it was a two-way tie on the Democratic side and a three-way tie on the Republican side. Sanders can be pleased with this result since he was trailing by 30% back in November. Cruz and Rubio can be pleased since they were only at around 12% in November. It is hard to imagine but in November Ben Carson was the clear leader in Iowa with nearly 30%. Clinton and Trump must both be somewhat disappointed though in Clinton’s case there must a twinge of relief that she managed to avoid an embarrassing loss.

Martin O’Malley got about 0.6% and announced his withdrawal from the race. I felt a pang of sympathy for him. I had noted a long time ago that he would be a good candidate but I think that he waited too long to get into the race. By the time he did so, Sanders had electrified the left wing of the party and its younger cohort who would have been the natural target audience for his message. O’Malley just could not make any inroads. But he is young and in four or even eight years could make a credible candidate.

The evening also saw the exit of Mike Huckabee from the Republican side and I was glad to see him go. While his term as governor of Arkansas saw this former Baptist minister do some reasonable things to help the less wealthy, he had become much more of a religious zealot over time and had revealed a level of duplicitous argumentation that was ugly. He must have been hoping that the heavily religious Republican vote in Iowa would boost his chances. I hope this is the last we see of him.

I expect to see other Republicans like Rick Santorum and Carly Fiorina drop out soon too. But they may stay on hoping to be included in the next debate and for a miracle in New Hampshire. But the day after that primary will see the real winnowing of the field.


  1. says

    I am already hearing the media trumpet Clinton as the “winner” in Iowa. Mind you, if this had been an election in Washington State, the margin would be thin enough to require a manual recount of the tally.

  2. doublereed says

    I’m pretty sure Martin O’Malley got into the race before Bernie Sanders did. He was saying he was going to run around this time last year.

    I don’t think he had a chance once Bernie Sanders got into the race. I like O’Malley, but I wouldn’t vote for him over Sanders. I’m not really sure who would.

    But he did make the point that if someone really believes they can bring ideas to the table, then they should consider running for the democratic ticket. I was surprised he brought up environmentalism so much at the debates, which neither of the other candidates were talking about as much. I also thought he was stronger on immigration than the other two (actually referring to immigrants as New Americans), but that was being talked about either way.

  3. Nick Gotts says

    I think the result is likely to give Rubio a boost in New Hampshire, as Republicans who dislike both Trump and Cruz now have an obvious alternative. On the Democratic side, “bragging rights” do matter, but even if Sanders had come out a few points ahead, Clinton would remain the clear favourite for the nomination, as Iowa is one of the places definitely favourable for Sanders (NH of course is even more so). He’d have had to gain a really big victory in Iowa to change that estimation.

  4. Jockaira says

    #7 StevoR says

    Compose your comment in a word-processer file. When satisfied, copy/past, not cut/paste. This commentor interface is unreliable when dealing with long comments or long time intervals after initiation.

    There are few things more frustating than spending 15-20 minutes on composing a gem of a comment complete with finely honed phrasings and biting humour, and then to lose it with the single click on an option key. If you have copied instead of cut, then you can at least try again without a great investment in retyping what might be an entirely different comment after losing your train of thought.

    Good Luck!

  5. sonofrojblake says

    Six Democrat districts decided by coin toss. All six in favour of Clinton. Seriously?

    Surprised Cruz’s lead wasn’t bigger here.

    Clinton and Trump must both be somewhat disappointed

    Clinton maybe. I don’t think disappointment is an emotion Trump’s capable of.

  6. says

    Congratulations, “Gordie” Cruz! You made your fellow Canucks proud! Don’t forget though, we still expect you to have The Tragically Hip write the new US national anthem when you get into the re-named Great White North House!

  7. Nick Gotts says

    Surprised Cruz’s lead wasn’t bigger here. -- sonofrojblake@7

    Trump was ahead in the Iowa polls, and was generally felt to have got the better of Cruz both over “New York values”, and over his boycott of the latest Fox debate. But maybe you could point us to your pre-caucus predictions of Cruz beating him?

  8. Holms says

    You don’t mean a literal coin toss, do you?? Hopefully you simply mean that they were very close right to the end.

  9. deepak shetty says

    I hope this is the last we see of him.

    Unless Huckabee makes a fortune peddling his fake treatments , he’ll be back in 4 years.

  10. Reginald Selkirk says

    O’Malley has probably done as much as he can in the current campaign. He has put himself out there, and could resurface in the future. Who else do the Democrats have for the next generation?

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    Holms @ # 10 -- No, those districts’ votes were decided by literal coin tosses, in the heartland® of the Greatest Democracy on Earth Evah™.

    And the odds of all those coins coming out on Clinton’s side = 1/64.

  12. janiceintoronto says

    We’re NOT taking Cruz back under any circumstances. So just forget that idea. You’re stuck with him.


    The Real Canadians.

  13. Mano Singham says

    doublereed @#3,

    O’Malley was strongly expected to run for the presidency for a long time, as far back as two years ago, but he only announced it on May 30, 2015. Sanders had announced a month earlier on April 30 and thus had time to build up a following.

  14. lorn says

    The Clinton coin toss thing is being reported, in the manner most likely to cause alarm, as if the difference between Bernie winning or not was six coin tosses. It wasn’t. The coin toss thing is a an artifact of a system in which proportional allocation doesn’t allow delegates to be split. If you have thee and you are supposed to allocate the evenly there is a coin toss to decide who gets the uneven third. Clinton won six of those cases.

    Less well publicized was that Bernie won four or five of them and it is applied to single delegates, not who won. This is a case of the press tailoring the headline to sell the most papers, there is far less to it than is implied by the headline.

  15. sonofrojblake says

    maybe you could point us to your pre-caucus predictions of Cruz beating [Trump]?

    I didn’t make any prediction about Iowa. In retrospect, it seems odd Cruz didn’t beat Trump more soundly in this, the first of many, many rounds. I saw a figure saying that Trump spent about $100 per vote in Iowa, Cruz spent about $1,000… and Jeb Bush spent about $15,000. Who’d have predicted that last June?

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