Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Iowa Caucuses - my thoughts before the first vote is cast

The polls suggest Donald Trump will win for the Republicans and Hillary Clinton for the Democrats. If this doesn’t happen, it would throw yet another surprise into this near unbelievable campaign: many pundits still cannot believe Trump continues to lead his party at this stage (and not Jeb Bush) and that Clinton’s lead is eroding at a crucial time.
 
The things to look out for are these. For the Republicans: if Trump wins as expected, how well has he turned out the vote? There is no question that Trump – the Lord Sugar of America’s The Apprentice – has strong name recognition, but there are questions about how well his team can get votes. The narrower his victory, the more vulnerable he will look. A second issue for Republicans is who comes second and third. Cruz and Rubio are seen as next most popular alternatives – whoever comes third will be under heavy pressure to drop out to support the other to stop Trump claiming the party’s nomination.

For the Democrats: there are bound to be rattled nerves on Clinton’s team. Eight years ago she was the favourite to win the nomination. But she just couldn’t shake off her opponent – Barack Obama – who continued to eat into her lead and ultimately win. The rest is history. And history may repeat itself. Clinton’s once commanding lead is now just 3 points over Senator Bernie Sanders. Clinton needs a convincing win perhaps even more than Trump as this race for the nomination is likely to be tight – and proving damaging for Clinton the longer it plays out.

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