The 2024 Presidential Election is officially underway, as Donald Trump won a majority of the vote in last night’s GOP’s Iowa Caucus.
With just about all of the precincts in, Trump stands ahead with 56,210 votes (51.0%).
As for the race for second place, Ron DeSantis pulled off a bit of an upset over Nikki Haley. DeSantis received 23,400 votes (21.2%) compared to Haley’s 21,076 votes (19.1%). Vivek Ramaswamy rounded out the top tier with 8,447 votes (7.7%).
How do these results compare to our expectations coming in?
Well, last Saturday’s final Des Moines Register/Selzer poll put Trump at 48%, followed by Haley with 20% and DeSantis with 16%. Finally, they found Ramaswamy at 8%. Meanwhile, Monday’s Decision Desk HQ/The Hill polling average of Iowa showed Trump with 53.0%, Haley 18.3%, DeSantis 15.9%, and Ramaswamy at 7.3%.
As for Iowa’s 40 delegates, DDHQ projects Trump will take 20 of those delegates, while DeSantis gets eight, Haley receives seven, Vivek takes three and two remain to be allocated.
The race was also called particularly early in the night, with CNN being first at 8:30 eastern, followed shortly by the AP at 8:31 eastern, and the remaining networks within minutes, which prompted an outcry from the DeSantis campaign since some caucus locations were still voting. DDHQ made its projection at 8:46 EST,
Altogether, this outcome will likely be particularly tough for Haley, as it deprives her of momentum ahead of her make-or-break state of New Hampshire. The Live Free or Die State will hold its primary next Tuesday, January 23rd.
Conversely, it was the best case scenario for Trump, who not only won in decisive fashion, but also still has two candidates vying to split the non-Trump vote among Republicans.
Furthermore, it appears that Trump will win a plurality in 98 of Iowa’s 99 counties, the one exception being Johnson County – home to the University of Iowa – where Haley won by a single vote in the caucus night count.
Entrance polls found Trump ahead with Republicans and Independents; urban, suburban and rural residents; college graduates and non-college graduates; and all age groups except 17-29 year olds, who favored DeSantis.
Altogether, it was a performance more befitting an incumbent than a challenger in an open contest.
Nevertheless, a Friday report from MJ Lee and Arlette Saenz of CNN revealed that the Biden campaign’s internal polling shows nearly three-quarters of undecided voters don’t believe that Donald Trump will ultimately be the 2024 Republican nominee.
Unless all those voters were watching the Buccaneers-Eagles NFL Wild Card game – and as an Eagles fan I hope they weren’t – the prospect of a Trump nomination is bound to become more real for them now.
With the voting over in Iowa, the race instantly shifts to New Hampshire, where Haley was steadily gaining ground on Trump and where independents can vote in the GOP primary. The DDHQ/Hill average puts Trump at 42.0% there, with Haley at 30.9% and DeSants far behind with 6.6%.
There are two debates scheduled before the New Hampshire Primary, the first on Thursday for ABC and the second on Sunday for CNN. DeSantis, Haley and Trump have all qualified, although once again Trump isn’t expected to participate in either forum.
Finally, make sure to visit Decision Desk HQ on January 23rd for live election results for the New Hampshire Primary, then keep an eye out for my day-after recap!