Latest Iowa Caucus Polls With 12 days left until the Iowa Caucuses actually take place, many are already calling the race on the Republican side a battle between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Henry Olsen, writing at the National Review Online thinks it’s way to soon to make such a determination.
That may end up being true, but past history suggests someone will surge in the last two weeks to take first or second in a huge upset.
Olsen points out how inaccurate Iowa polls have proven to be over the last couple presidential election cycles. In 2012, for example, eventual winner Rick Santorum was polling fifth or sixth just a week or so before Caucus Day and still managed no better than third on the eve of the vote.Could the same happen in 2016? Perhaps it could. My openness to the possibility stems from the memory of what happened in the 2004 Democratic nomination. Before Iowa that year, Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean were locked in a battle for the lead in Hawkeye polls. Then something happened. They began attacking each other mightily and almost exclusively in political ads and debates.
Typically, mudslinging in a two-way race tends to move the dial very little. However, when the top two candidates in a multiple-candidate race start slinging mud, another candidate can benefit significantly as voters look to someone else to fill the void created by two damaged front-runners. In 2004, the Gephardt/Dean feud produced a John Kerry victory in Iowa – and, by extension, help yield a John Kerry nomination.Now that Cruz and Trump have assumed the contender mantle, we’re seeing the mudslinging commence. It’ll be interesting to see if someone like Marco Rubio or Ben Carson will be this year’s surprise upset Iowa winner. If Iowa history shows us anything, it is that caucus-goers like to produce upsets.