Surprise results in first US primary

I haven’t been following the US Democrat presidential goings on much since they cranked up months ago, but they have got to a serious stage (still 9 months out from the election).

The first primary was held in Iowa earlier this week. The vote count was badly botched and the final results still aren’t known, but with 86% of caucus precincts counted the results are a bit surprising (all delegate numbers are estimates).

  • Pete Buttigieg – 11 delegates (26.5% of the votes)
  • Bernie Sanders – 11 delegates (25.6%)
  • Elizabeth Warren – 5 delegates (18.3%)
  • Joe Biden – 0 delegates (15.9%)
  • Amy Klobuchar – 0 delegates (12.1%)

This must severely dent Joe Biden’s chances. I thought he was too old and uninspiring to make a decent candidate anyway.

Sanders is up there for now but I don’t see him having wide appeal. He seems old enough to have red Das Kapital when it was first published.

I think that the Democrats would benefit if they manage to avoid a battle of geriatrics.

A big surprise to see Buttigieg heading the votes. I know very little about him, but he must have something going for him to get this sort of result.

Iowa caucus results

It turns out that Donald Trump was flattered by the polls leading into the Republican Iowa caucus. He has been beaten by Ted Cruz by 3.3%, and Marco Rubio was just 1.2% behind him.

  • Cruz 27.7%
  • Trump 24.3%
  • Rubio 23.1%
  • Other 24.9%

It’s early days and a lot will depend on where the votes for those who drop out go. Relatively unheralded, Rubio could be a serious contender. Trump may have trouble picking up support.

And Hillary Clinton edged out Bernie Sanders in the Democratic caucus.

  • Clinton 50.1%
  • Sanders 49.4%

This gives Clinton the early advantage but again, this is just one state.

UPDATE:  Big turnout and Trump surprised it didn’t benefit him, and big money politics – $2.5m spent by one group solely to attack Trump.

Packed Caucuses Were Supposed to Benefit Donald Trump, but May Have Hurt Him Instead

DES MOINES — One of the biggest surprises of the night in Iowa was the large turnout on the Republican side, which many pundits had predicted would benefit Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump’s team believed this, too, and was talking about the packed caucus sites around the state before the votes were cast.

But that was not how things went, raising the prospect that some of the voters who turned out were interested in stopping Mr. Trump, instead of propelling him to victory. What also became clear was that Mr. Trump was not immune to negative political ads, despite a pervasive concern among Republican operatives that he would retaliate if they aired them.

Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign, along with a “super PAC” supporting him, Keep the Promise I, aired cutting ads raising questions about Mr. Trump’s character and trustworthiness. So did a newly founded group called Our Principles PAC, whose sole goal was to stop Mr. Trump.

That group spent $2.5 million in 10 days on ads against Mr. Trump.

Trump punts on no debate

Donald Trump seems to have punted on attracting more media attention by pulling out of the final Republican debate before the first caucus in Iowa than he would have got by taking part.

It’s not the first time he’s threatened to pull out of a debate but the first time he’s actually done it.

Politico reports Donald Trump quits debate to stay center stage

With less than 150 hours before the Iowa caucuses, Trump thrust himself squarely into the center of the political conversation and the news cycle with his surprise declaration that he would boycott the final debate before voting begins in Iowa.

At a combative press conference before a rally here, Trump said he wouldn’t participate in Thursday’s Fox News showdown because co-moderator Megyn Kelly is biased against him, and because he found Fox’s response to his concerns childish.

“Let’s see how they do at the debate,” Trump said. “Let’s see how many people watch.”

This is not the first time Trump has played hardball with a debate host.

In his press conference, Trump continued his months-long tirade against Kelly, who moderated the first GOP debate last August, calling her a “lightweight” and “third-rate reporter.”

He can’t handle a ‘lightweight’ reporter?

Ted Cruz is using the wimp out to fight back against Trump.

Cruz picked up the same line as Fox in challenging Trump to a one-on-one debate in Fairfield, Iowa. “Just a few minutes ago, the news broke that Donald Trump is refusing to attend the debate here in Iowa on Thursday,” he said to a mixture of boos and applause. “He announced he will not be there. Apparently Megyn Kelly is really, really scary.”

The crowd laughed.

“This race is a dead heat between Donald and me, we are effectively tied in the state of Iowa. If he is unwilling to stand on the debate stage with the other candidates, I would like to invite Donald right now to engage in a one-on-one debate with me, anytime between now and the Iowa Caucuses,” he said.

He ticked through a list of potential moderators from conservative talk radio, including Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity—but if they are “too scary,” Cruz mocked, then he and Trump could “do 90 minute, Lincoln-Douglas, mano-a-mano, Donald and me. He can lay out his vision for this country, I can lay out my vision in front of the men and women of Iowa.”

It’s getting to the serious business part of the contest and Trump may find it more difficult to manipulate media for his own benefit so much.

FiveThirtyEight has Cruz and Trump level pegging on 44% each.

538IowaPoll

Latest Iowa polls

Interesting Quinnipiac poll results on the Iowa presidential primaries.

Sanders has not just closed up on Clinton, he’s ahead.

Iowa Democratic Presidential Caucus

  • Sanders 49
  • Clinton 44
  • O’Malley 4

 

And Cruz is close to Trump.

Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus

  • Trump 31
  • Cruz 29
  • Rubio 9
  • Carson 8
  • Christie 4
  • Bush 4
  • Paul 3
  • Paul, Huckabee, Kasich 2
  • Fiorina, Santorum 1

The Iowa primaries are the first significant events that lead to choosing delegates for the US presidential nominating conventions.

Both Democratic and Republican Iowa caucuses are scheduled to occur on February 1 this year.