The 2016 primary race has never been this exciting. The Republicans are in disarray, with two non-establishment candidates (Trump and Cruz) handily leading the pack and four establishment candidates (Rubio, Bush, Christie, and Kasich) desperately vying to break out of the pack. The Democratic race is now competitive – Bernie Sanders has experienced a meteoric surge as of late and Hillary Clinton is no longer the clear-cut frontrunner.
Before I delve into the outlook for the two earliest states to vote, Iowa and New Hampshire, here’s where the candidates for each party stand in the national polls:
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – 51.2
US Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders – 38.0
Former Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley – 2.2
Chairman of the Trump Organization Donald Trump – 34.8
U.S. Senator from Texas Ted Cruz – 18.8
U.S. Senator from Florida Marco Rubio – 11.6
Former Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery for Johns Hopkins Hospital Ben Carson – 8.8
Former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush – 4.8
Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie – 3.4
Governor of Ohio John Kasich – 2.4
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina – 2.4
U.S. Senator from Kentucky Rand Paul – 2.2
Former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee – 2.0
Former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum – 0.2
IOWA CAUCUSES: FEB. 1
HOW THE IOWA CAUCUSES WORKED
There are two kinds of primary voting in the election process: caucuses and traditional primaries. As the name suggests, Iowa’s first-in-the-nation voting is caucus style. This means that, instead of simply going into the booth and casting their vote, the citizens congregate at a small town meeting. Lobbying occurs and by the end of the session the people physically stand in the area within the room that represents the candidate that they favor. It is very traditional and can be beneficial to grassroots campaigns (like that of Bernie Sanders).
The race in Iowa is essentially as close as it has ever been for the Dems. Hillary Clinton had a commanding lead over Bernie Sanders throughout most of November. Bernie saw a short increase in the polls through December and into early January. Since January 11, Sanders has been surging.
Martin O’Malley is still stuck in a pit and he will likely drop out following the Iowa and New Hampshire voting.
The Iowa race will be very close – and as was mentioned above the caucus style may bode well for Sanders, but my prediction is that Hillary Clinton narrowly wins the state.
Hillary Clinton – 46.8
Bernie Sanders – 42.8
Martin O’Malley – 5.2
In late October/early November, the state of Iowa seemed to be Ben Carson’s for the taking. Iowa is full of evangelical social conservatives – Mike Huckabee,winning the state in 2008 and Rick Santorum winning in 2012 reflect that. Thus, Ben Carson made perfect sense. But he has puttered out since then and a new evangelical social conservative has risen up to replace him – Ted Cruz.
It’s a dogfight between Cruz and Trump in Iowa (because Trump never goes away). It will be a close one, but I’m predicting that the evangelical sway will give Cruz the win here.
Donald Trump – 28.8
Ted Cruz – 26.6
Marco Rubio – 11.0
Ben Carson – 8.6
Chris Christie – 4.2
Jeb Bush – 4.0
Rand Paul – 3.4
John Kasich – 2.8
Mike Huckabee – 2.6
Carly Fiorina – 1.6
Rick Santorum – 1.2
NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARIES: FEB. 9
HOW THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARIES WORK
The New Hampshire primaries are a simple cast your ballot vote.
Bernie Sanders, of neighboring state Vermont, is very popular in New Hampshire. He had a solid lead in the Granite State from August to mid-November, when Hillary Clinton briefly overtook him. But Bernie’s recent surge seems to have solidified a win here.
Bernie Sanders – 51.6
Hillary Clinton – 39.0
Martin O’Malley – 2.8
I can’t believe I’m saying this but Donald Trump will handily win a primary state. He is 20 points ahead of second-place John Kasich, and does not have the evangelical perspective against him. New Hampshire tends to vote for establishment candidates, but I suppose Trumpmania is too strong for them.
Donald Trump – 32.2
John Kasich – 12.3
Ted Cruz – 11.5
Marco Rubio – 10.8
Jeb Bush – 8.3
Chris Christie – 7.8
Rand Paul – 4.3
Carly Fiorina – 4.0
Ben Carson – 2.8
Mike Huckabee – 0.7
Rick Santorum – 0.7