By Chelsea Fullem
In the early hours of Tuesday February 2nd, as people anxiously awaited the fates of their favorite candidates, the final votes of the 2016 Iowa Caucus were quickly being counted. Throughout the night, many news outlets predicted that Ted Cruz would win on the Republican side, and they were right. Ted Cruz received 27.3% of Iowan’s votes beating Donald Trump who managed to win 24.3%. To many, this was a surprise as Donald Trump had been leading in polls conducted across the country. Consequently, Senator Cruz’s upset could come as a blow to Trump’s campaign especially considering a recent Gallup Poll showing 60% of Americans have an unfavorable view of Trump – the highest amongst all candidates mentioned in the poll. Closely following Trump was Marco Rubio with 23.1%. Additionally, Ben Carson has stated that he will continue to campaign despite only receiving 9.3% of the vote. Immediately after hearing the results of the caucus, Mike Huckabee made a statement saying “I am officially suspending my campaign. Thank you for all of your loyal support.” At 1.8% of the vote many deemed this a prudent decision. The remaining candidates all received low single digits with Rand Paul at 4.5% of the total votes, Jeb Bush with 2.8%, and Carly Fiorina with 1.9%.
On the Democrat side, the results were much closer. Hilary Clinton won by a mere .3% with 49.9% of the votes versus Bernie Sanders’s 49.6%. Martin O’Malley, the remaining major democratic candidate, after receiving only .6% of the vote has stated he will suspend campaigning.
The Iowa Caucus is by no means a completely fool-proof way to gauge which candidate will become the nominee for his or her respective party. For instance, in 2008 Mike Huckabee won the Iowa Caucus, but John McCain won the eventual nomination for the Republican Party. Similarly, in 2012, Rick Santorum won in Iowa only to lose the nomination to Mitt Romney. The value of momentum gained by an early victory in Iowa, however, should not be discounted.