After Iowa: Who’s Next To Drop?

Posted: December 18, 2015 | By: Iowa Caucus Project Staff Tagged: Blog

It’s got to happen sooner or later. So far this election cycle there have pretty some pretty big names who ended their campaigns earlier than expected – Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, and most notably Scott Walker, an early front runner.

Looking at naked poll numbers from the latest Des Moines Register poll of voters in Iowa, it’s easy to see who doesn’t have a fighting chance come February 1st.

Ted Cruz – 31%

Donald Trump – 21%

Ben Carson – 13%

Marco Rubio – 10%

Jeb Bush – 6%

Chris Christie – 3%

Mike Huckabee – 3%

Rand Paul – 3%

John Kasich – 2%

Carly Fiorina – 1%

Rick Santorum – 1%

Jim Gilmore – <1%

Lindsey Graham – <1%

George Pataki – <1%

These numbers indicate, of the 400 potential Republican voters polled, who would be their first choice for president. Gilmore, Graham and Pataki don’t even have enough points to get on the board, while Fiorina and Santorum just scrape ahead of them with 1% of the polled voters. Christie, Huckabee, Paul and Kasich each grabbed two or three percent and Bush is slightly ahead at six percent.

Looking at just numbers, anybody below 10% is in the losers bracket. These candidates either aren’t putting the time in necessary to do well in Iowa or they just aren’t connecting with voters. In the case of Bush, Christie, Kasich, Fiorina, and Graham, their lack of time on the ground in Iowa is intentional. They are focusing their efforts on New Hampshire, or in the case of Graham, his home state of South Carolina.

Above the 10% mark we move up into the championship bracket. This most recent poll puts hard numbers behind what many Iowans have senses coming – a Cruz victory in Iowa. He blasted ahead of Trump, a testament to the incredible ground game he’s been running in the state. Trump seems to be here to stay for a bit longer and Rubio is slowly gaining ground. Carson is hitting a major slump but still has decent numbers thanks to his Christian, anti-establishment rhetoric that has connected with Iowa voters.

While numbers would indicate those who couldn’t even get on the board would be the first to go, there are quite a few outside factors to consider. We already discussed the reality some candidates faced – that they just won’t do that well in Iowa. Candidates like Christie and Kasich, considering the persona and platforms they promote, are more likely to find broad based appeal with New England independents over conservative Midwesterners. Bush is also spending a considerable amount of time and money (emphasis on the money) in New Hampshire, although his odds still don’t look great.

In a discussion of campaign suspensions, it’s really only fun to talk about the Republicans. There were a few oddballs on the Democratic side but after the first debate both Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb took the hint and bowed out. There may still be an interesting conversation to have about Martin O’Malley’s determined trek through Iowa but we’ll leave that for another day.




Katie Ramsey is a senior public relations major with a concentration in politics. She is a proud Iowan who watches too much SNL and is the only journalism student in recorded history without a coffee habit. Follow her on Twitter.