Prediction time: Trump 30, Cruz 28, Rubio 17

posted at 3:21 pm on February 1, 2016 by Allahpundit

I was going to predict Trump 30, Cruz 28, Rubio 19, but before I started writing this Ross Douthat floated those exact numbers and now I’ll be accused of copycatting if I co-sign them. So let’s shave two off of Rubio’s take for my best guess. I think I like that better anyway. We’ve had so many “Marco moments!” from the media during the campaign which never quite panned out that it’s natural to think his late surge will be weaker than expected too.

Here’s your thread to offer your own predictions, although the race is so fluid and Trump’s ability to turn out his voters is such a black box that I think each forecast tells you more about the psychology of the forecaster than about his or her grip on what’s happening. In my case, when in doubt I revert to pessimism: You’ll rarely be wrong in expecting the worst outcome, and even when you are the results will come as a pleasant surprise rather than a disappointment. Ergo, Trump wins. I feel pulled the other way, though, by the fact that Cruz is the one with all the hard evidence of impressive turnout on his side. If you think Cruz is going to win, it’s because you know what percentage of evangelicals typically turn out for the caucuses, you know how many people it takes to staff an effective phone bank, you’re sold on the granular microtargeting that Cruz’s data team is using to reach likely voters, and so on. If you think Trump is going to win, it’s because Trumpmania is amazing and Trump is a winner by definition and there ain’t no stopping this train, baby. It’s the difference between sabermetrics and intuition. To expect a Trump win despite Cruz’s multitude of traditional advantages — endorsements, ground game, analytics, grassroots cred, vocally Christian — is, ironically, to take a leap of faith. That’s a weird thing for an atheist to do.

It’s not all a matter of faith, though. The polls are what they are: Cruz hasn’t led in any survey taken in Iowa over the past 10 days, and various major pollsters show him trailing Trump by exactly, or almost exactly, the same amount. The final surveys from Monmouth, Quinnipiac, and WSJ/NBC all have Trump up seven points. PPP’s final survey had Trump up eight. The big Selzer poll this weekend had Trump by five. If they’re missing on turnout, they’re all missing in a remarkably consistent way. The trendline for Cruz, meanwhile, has been reliably downward. On January 10th, he was above 30 percent in RCP’s average. Today, after weeks of attacks on his eligibility, his loan from Goldman Sachs, his tithing habits, his opposition to ethanol subsidies, and so on, he’s at 23.9. Given that data, it’s arguably as much a leap of faith to think Cruz wins tonight as it is to think Trump does. And as far as his organization goes, this quote from Cruz’s Iowa state director describing their ground-game advantage over Trump keeps coming back to me:

“I’ve seen no evidence of and heard no supporting evidence to suggest they’re running anything like this [phone bank],” Mr. English said, nodding toward the din of dozens of simultaneous phone conversations. “If this is what it takes to get regular caucus voters to go to caucus, it would take this plus something in order to get people who don’t.”

Well, no. Or rather, yes — for a garden-variety politician. The core lesson of the past eight months is that Trump is anything but garden variety. It’s not a leap of faith to think that a guy who spent the better part of a year breaking various rules of primary politics, from his “gaffe” about McCain’s POW status to his barely-even-trying pandering to evangelicals to his willingness to be outspent by other candidates while he relies on earned media, can break one more by turning out droves of first-time caucusgoers without an impressive ground game. Trump’s support, as Harry Enten wrote this morning, is narrow but deep; only a third or so of the party prefers him, but that third is highly motivated. Some Trumpers are part of a cult of personality, others see him as the heaviest blunt object available to throw at the political class, others are devoted because he’s the only candidate focused on protectionism for American workers. The question tonight is simply whether there are, say, 50,000 people in Iowa, Democrats and independents included, willing to show up for an hour to make their devotion plain without a team of campaign workers begging them to do so. To go back to the excerpt, why would it necessarily take more cajoling rather than less for a guy with his own cult of personality to convince his followers to turn out, even if they haven’t caucused before? Is the idea here that Trump fans simply refuse to be proactive in showing up for the one guy running who’s going to Make America Great Again?

Per the latest numbers released from the Iowa secretary of state, there are 616,000 or so registered Republicans in Iowa as of today, although of course more can register at the caucus tonight. The record for turnout in a GOP caucus was 122,000 in 2012, meaning that “good” turnout in the past typically involved 20 percent or so of registered Republicans showing up. By Team Cruz’s own admission, turnout of 175,000 tonight would strongly favor a Trump win. In other words, can Trump mobilize an extra 50,000 of the roughly 500,000 Iowa Republicans who wouldn’t normally caucus to show up tonight, after month upon month of heavy media saturation? Before you answer, bear in mind that there are also 587,000 registered Democrats in Iowa, many of whom are being targeted by Bernie Sanders but some of whom may prefer Trump’s nationalist, Jacksonian brand of protectionism. The real task tonight, then is, to mobilize 50,000 new caucusgoers from the pool of 500,000 leftover Republicans plus the pool of hundreds of thousands of Democrats who may not feel motivated to caucus for Bernie or Hillary for whatever reason. That’s challenging, but not as challenging as Team Cruz makes it sound, I think. I expect Trump will get it done, but that his margin of victory will be less than the pollsters expect precisely because Cruz’s ground game is so good. In fact, here’s a smart point from a savvy friend about an early sign to watch for tonight that things are going Trump’s way:

One other question for the Trump naysayers: If his turnout tonight is destined to disappoint, why are so many of his fans telling pollsters that they’re likely to caucus? What’s the incentive to lie about that? A few months ago, a leading theory among the commentariat was that Trump tended to do better in online polls because online polls afford a degree of anonymity that a phone poll doesn’t. The idea was that there’s a segment of the population that prefers Trump but is embarrassed to say so to another person. Yet in poll after poll lately, including the highly respected Selzer phone poll, Trump’s supporters have not only been willing to admit their support but to say that they’re likely to caucus for him. How do we square that? Are they BSing the pollsters about turning out to make themselves seem more civically minded? Are they telling the truth but are somehow too stupid to find basic instructions on how to caucus today even though every newspaper in Iowa and various websites, including Trump’s, have guides? One of the questions tomorrow if Cruz ends up winning is why people claimed that they intended to caucus for Trump and then ended up not doing so. Answer that question now. If all of the polls are wrong, why were they wrong? Who lied to the pollster and why?

The thread is open. Predict away. For your viewing pleasure, here’s Sarah Palin, former tea-party star, insisting that it wasn’t a hard choice at all between Donald Trump and Mr. Tea Party Ted Cruz. Exit question: How much would Trump have to win by to instigate a real panic among the two-thirds of the party that doesn’t prefer him? A two-point win over Cruz is “survivable,” I think, in that it’ll be spun as the product of a big field. As the field winnows in the next few weeks, Trump will start losing. (He trailed Cruz by double digits head-to-head in the Selzer poll.) If he blows Cruz out, though, winning by 10 points or more, then I think you’ll start seeing “in case of emergency, break glass” reactions by anti-Trumpers. Pressure on Jeb to get out and back Rubio will be intense if Rubio does well tonight. You may hear Romney’s name thrown around again, and maybe whispers about a third-party challenge mounted by conservatives in the new expectation that Trump will be the nominee. The rest of the party won’t simply acquiesce, though, when Trump’s national favorable rating looks as dismal as this. We’ll see.


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Comment pages: 1 4 5 6

any Iowans better already be at be getting ready to go to the polls…

equanimous on February 1, 2016 at 6:35 PM

dang time zones…

equanimous on February 1, 2016 at 6:37 PM

Magic 8 Ball says

Trump 32
Cruz 24
Rubio sqrt(-1)

SpongePuppy on February 1, 2016 at 6:38 PM

Everybody on the Bright Side

NO MATTER WHO WINS TONIGHT OBAMA WILL NOT

SDRightWinger on February 1, 2016 at 6:39 PM

My prediction…….

I have no freaking idea

jake-the-goose on February 1, 2016 at 6:39 PM

Any information on turn out?

petunia on February 1, 2016 at 6:42 PM

My prediction…….

I have no freaking idea

jake-the-goose on February 1, 2016 at 6:39 PM

Brutal honesty.

Aizen on February 1, 2016 at 6:42 PM

Ayinger Hefeweizen is also very good. In fact, Ayinger is probably one of the best brewery’s in Bayern.

Neitherleftorright on February 1, 2016 at 5:52 PM

Been a while since I drank Ayinger – think it was the Marzen. Will have to revisit, thanks!

Joseph K on February 1, 2016 at 6:42 PM

NEWSFLASH

Text from an Iowa farmer I know who has gone to caucus for many decades.

“Never seen so many media and so many people.”

Asked for any updates he could send.

Meremortal on February 1, 2016 at 6:48 PM

Cruz supporters not2bright?

Google says Ted Cruz is the top searched candidate in Iowa today for the GOP when paired with phrase ‘How to caucus for’ – @GoogleTrends

IDontCair on February 1, 2016 at 6:49 PM

Oh boy.

“Knock out anybody who throws a tomato up here, knock them the hell out. I promise I’ll pay your legal fees.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5s9kpPZBbg

portlandon on February 1, 2016 at 6:49 PM

“Knock out anybody who throws a tomato up here, knock them the hell out. I promise I’ll pay your legal fees.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5s9kpPZBbg

portlandon on February 1, 2016 at 6:49 PM

Never seen this in America before.

kcewa on February 1, 2016 at 6:53 PM

Meremortal on February 1, 2016 at 6:37 PM

I don’t even like wrestling, I just hate when GOP establishment supporters, who generally aren’t very bright, do that snob thing.

That’s not how you win elections.

Redstone on February 1, 2016 at 6:54 PM

It really doesn’t make any difference, as long as they finish in top 3. Not enough delegates to make a difference. I’d love to see Trump win going away, but as long as he is in top 3 he will be fine.

Think about it. Trump finishing that high in a state where over 50% of Republican caucus goers are Evangelicals.

huckleberryfriend on February 1, 2016 at 6:54 PM

…although the race is so fluid and Trump’s ability to turn out his voters is such a black box that I think each forecast tells you more about the psychology of the forecaster than about his or her grip on what’s happening.

So true. Yet here we are on page five, exposing our psyches & throwing a lot more heat than light on the subject.

My prediction…….

I have no freaking idea

jake-the-goose on February 1, 2016 at 6:39 PM

Neither do I. That probably says something about our psyches but I have no idea what that would be, either.

I am curious to see the reports on how the initial losers shift to other candidates. Aside from who actually wins, the most interesting thing about Iowa will be how the second choices play out.

novaculus on February 1, 2016 at 6:58 PM

Tonight’s BIG question: Will Iowans be willing to brave a perfect balmy, sunny February night to caucus for their preferred candidate?

kcewa on February 1, 2016 at 6:58 PM

kcewa on February 1, 2016 at 6:53 PM

Gotta keep ’em separated.

Christien on February 1, 2016 at 6:58 PM

http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/3148/1839/original.jpg
For your consideration….Berniebots,this is what we have to really worry about. Man, I hope it snows like H*ll there tonight. then maybe the adult idiots will be the only ones voting.

Bakokitty on February 1, 2016 at 6:59 PM

Jeb Bush ✔ @JebBush
Join us tonight in Manchester for the first of our New Hampshire swing.

kcewa on February 1, 2016 at 7:00 PM

Chris Christie ✔ @ChrisChristie
Back in New Hampshire and LIVE from Hopkinton for another town hall. Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qakYq6NLKLQ … #FITN

kcewa on February 1, 2016 at 7:01 PM

Jeb Bush ✔ @JebBush
Join us tonight in Manchester for the first of our New Hampshire swing.

kcewa on February 1, 2016 at 7:00 PM

Is that FU, Iowa in Spanish?

katy the mean old lady on February 1, 2016 at 7:02 PM

Trump – 26

Cruz – 25

Rubio – 23

Carson gets some sympathy votes

Knife fight between Christie/Paul

Jeb’s floor gives out

budfox on February 1, 2016 at 7:02 PM

And I will sit here in the far reaches of Ca. watching yet again the middle of the country pick who will be the possible candidates. It really pisses me off that we here out west get the sloppy seconds, if you will, because we never get to pick a primary candidate, we just get to go along with whoever the rest of you pick. so ……. sigh

Bakokitty on February 1, 2016 at 7:03 PM

Garyinaz66 on February 1, 2016 at 6:27 PM

From what I understand here they do discuss first, before voting. So it’s still lengthy, although indeed less complicated than the Communist caucus.

Jeffrey on February 1, 2016 at 7:04 PM

huckleberryfriend on February 1, 2016 at 6:54 PM
How come we never single out the Muslim voters, or the Catholic voters, or the atheist voters, The wickets…etc. why make a big deal over “evangelicals”? How about we just call them all …..voters?
I mean if we made a big deal over Catholic, Muslim, etc we would be called some kind of evil haters.

Bakokitty on February 1, 2016 at 7:08 PM

Jeffrey on February 1, 2016 at 7:04 PM

Which is really dumb. If you’re motivated to go it stands to reason it’s because there is someone you want to caucus for. So whose mind is going to be changed by some stupid speech?

MJBrutus on February 1, 2016 at 7:09 PM

Is that FU, Iowa in Spanish?

katy the mean old lady on February 1, 2016 at 7:02 PM

English too.

kcewa on February 1, 2016 at 7:10 PM

Which is really dumb. If you’re motivated to go it stands to reason it’s because there is someone you want to caucus for. So whose mind is going to be changed by some stupid speech?

MJBrutus on February 1, 2016 at 7:09 PM

You go to learn about the candidates and decide.

kcewa on February 1, 2016 at 7:11 PM

Cruz will probably the Republican vote tonight. Unfortunately, we let indies and Marxists vote in our primaries.

K. Hobbit on February 1, 2016 at 7:16 PM

kcewa on February 1, 2016 at 7:11 PM

If you aren’t motivated enough to have learned about them and chosen one before today I doubt that you are going to make the effort to go the caucus.

MJBrutus on February 1, 2016 at 7:16 PM

Cruz 30
Trump 28
Rubio 22

But NH will be not so kind to Cruz.

clevbrian19d on February 1, 2016 at 7:17 PM

portlandon, you need to seek help. You lost your humor.

Schadenfreude on February 1, 2016 at 7:17 PM

CNN says unusually high voter registration at the Republican caucuses

kcewa on February 1, 2016 at 7:18 PM

Jeffrey on February 1, 2016 at 7:04 PM

Of course I screwed up and gave a dead link there. Let me try again. Here‘s a 2008 Republican instruction video for the Iowa caucus.

Jeffrey on February 1, 2016 at 7:20 PM

HA Filter for Sec.Def.

hillbillyjim on February 1, 2016 at 7:21 PM

portlandon, you need to seek help. You lost your humor.

Schadenfreude on February 1, 2016 at 7:17 PM

After the primaries are over, and we have a clear winner I’ll get my humor back. I just don’t find anything particularly funny in this election cycle.

portlandon on February 1, 2016 at 7:23 PM

Bakokitty on February 1, 2016 at 7:03 PM

Because the rest of the country thinks you folks are insane. Look at your governor.

Dick Richard on February 1, 2016 at 7:25 PM

After the primaries are over, and we have a clear winner I’ll get my humor back. I just don’t find anything particularly funny in this election cycle.

portlandon on February 1, 2016 at 7:23 PM

you will never have humor back, if you ever had any.

you are Al Sharpton without an audience racebaiter.

Garyinaz66 on February 1, 2016 at 7:28 PM

Trump 35%
Rubio 28%
Cruz 17%

nuclearoptional on February 1, 2016 at 7:31 PM

nuclearoptional on February 1, 2016 at 7:31 PM

Trump is a democrat-he should be running as such.

annoyinglittletwerp on February 1, 2016 at 7:34 PM

Trump 35%
Rubio 28%
Cruz 17%

nuclearoptional on February 1, 2016 at 7:31 PM

Yuge!

I was thinking similar numbers myself!

I’ll try:

Trump 38%
Rubio 25%
Cruz  19%

anotherJoe on February 1, 2016 at 7:41 PM

you will never have humor back, if you ever had any.

you are Al Sharpton without an audience racebaiter.

Garyinaz66 on February 1, 2016 at 7:28 PM

Cubans.

portlandon on February 1, 2016 at 7:42 PM

Cruz 32
Rubio 22
Trump 21
Carson 8

Constitutionalist on February 1, 2016 at 7:45 PM

Predictions:

– Trump breaks 30%
– criminal socialist gal beats crazy socialist guy by a nose

ElectricPhase on February 1, 2016 at 7:45 PM

Trump is a democrat-he should be running as such.

annoyinglittletwerp on February 1, 2016 at 7:34 PM

Cruz is a Canadian. He should have run for Prime Minister.

JannyMae on February 1, 2016 at 7:49 PM

“Prediction?”
“PAAAIIIIINNNNN.” -Clubber Lang.

newtopia on February 1, 2016 at 7:51 PM

Trump is a democrat-he should be running as such.

annoyinglittletwerp on February 1, 2016 at 7:34 PM

He’s a Trojan Horse candidate. He’ll be exposed sooner or later. He can’t help himself.

portlandon on February 1, 2016 at 7:53 PM

portlandon, you need to seek help. You lost your humor.

Schadenfreude on February 1, 2016 at 7:17 PM

No, he hasn’t. He’s just putting too much bitterness into it. Too hoppy.

Christien on February 1, 2016 at 7:57 PM

Leon Wolf @LeonHWolf
Headed to Cruz HQ to cover returns. Please God let there finally be WiFi in this state

Always an azzhole.

katy the mean old lady on February 1, 2016 at 7:58 PM

He’s a Trojan Horse candidate. He’ll be exposed sooner or later. He can’t help himself.

He’s a pragmatist. He’ll pivot to the center should he secure the nomination…which is looking pretty good right now.

newtopia on February 1, 2016 at 7:59 PM

Okay guys and gals, here’s the transcript of my call to Rush today.

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Here’s David in Louisville. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Rush, great to talk to you again. I appreciate you taking my call.

RUSH: You bet, sir.

CALLER: I’ve just got two quick questions if you don’t mind and, by the way, Rush, not mad at you, I promise. Just for full disclosure, I’m a Trump supporter, but I’m gonna pick up for Cruz here. I’d just like to know, given Megyn Kelly’s admitted dishonesty in the debate with Cruz, do you still think she’s not a bad person?

RUSH: Now, wait.

CALLER: The day before the debate you said she wasn’t a bad person and that she’s a professional.

RUSH: Which dishonesty are you talking about? The first debate?

CALLER: No, the most recent debate, where she called out Cruz and then after the debate — I’m referencing the California phone call where he pointed out that she admitted she was wrong after the debate when nobody was watching.

RUSH: This was the issue about amnesty —

CALLER: Yes, sir.

RUSH: — where she admitted afterwards that he was right about it. When I said that she’s a good person, I’m talking about my personal interactions with her. I can’t say that I know her. She’s not in my close circle of friends. We don’t live anywhere near each other. But I’ve been with her enough, she doesn’t target people. She’s trying to forge her own path in her career. She’s a journalist and there are certain things that journalists have to do there. I’m not defending that. She goes after Cruz. She went After Trump.

I think, when you get right down to it, if you want to know what I think is the bottom line, I think Fox is burdened with this belief that everybody in the media thinks they’re conservative, and they don’t want to be thought of that way, so they will purposefully hit conservatives hard to show that they are not friends and not biased in favor of conservatives. It’s no different than the way the Republican Party tries to constantly prove they’re not the mean guys the Democrats say.

Many conservative journalists — it’s not just Fox — many conservative journalists will do and say things hoping to not be criticized as partisan by their brothers and sisters in the Drive-By Media. And I don’t think it’s any more complicated than that. But she can still be a good person even after doing the things that she’s done with Trump or Cruz. Those are professional. I was speaking personally and I was just trying to make the point here that she’s not evil, and she’s not diabolical. It was the only point that I was trying to make.

CALLER: One last question if you don’t mind.

RUSH: Sure.

CALLER: This is regarding Trump. He gets a lot of attacks for his past liberal positions. And you’ve spent your entire career trying to persuade people toward conservatism.

RUSH: Right.

CALLER: And I find that a lot of your detractors call him a liar for flip-flopping to conservative positions. And I just find it interesting that we spend so much time trying to persuade people to convert to conservatism, and then when one guy says he did convert, we call him a liar.

RUSH: Well, who is “we”?

CALLER: By “we” I mean people on the conservative side who say that he is not really a conservative because of his past positions. They’re saying he flip-flopped.

RUSH: Okay, okay. And there are a decent number of those out there. You’re right, there are a decent number.

CALLER: What’s the point of arguing conservatism if we’re gonna call somebody a liar when they say they’re conservative.

RUSH: Well, I think it’s rooted in the fact that they don’t think Trump’s conversion is legit, that he’s just saying these things, and they think that he gives it away with momentary slip-ups that indicate that he hasn’t really converted to anything.

CALLER: I don’t see any guile in him. The very fact that he says what’s on his mind, even to his own detriment, the kinds of insults —

RUSH: I’m not —

CALLER: — things like that tells me that he doesn’t have guile.

RUSH: Guile defined as deceit?

CALLER: Yeah. He’s not a slick Harvard lawyer, so he says what’s on his mind. So he doesn’t come across like he’s hiding things.

RUSH: Well, no. No, in fact I saw something — I didn’t actually see this so I have to add a caveat here that what I read might not have portrayed this accurately, but it was a story on a CNN reporterette named Alisyn Camerota. And this report said that Alisyn Camerota admitted that journalists are afraid of Trump destroying them if they criticize him. They don’t want to be called losers or whatever names he calls ’em, so they pull back on the criticism. As I say, I didn’t hear her say that. I read it somewhere. I don’t even remember where. It was over the weekend.

But that happens to be true of a lot of people who are afraid to criticize Trump because they don’t want to be called this or that. It’s amazing how that’s paralyzed the Republicans, vis-a-vis the Democrats, and it’s paralyzing some people about Trump as well. Anyway, David, I appreciate the call.

fossten on February 1, 2016 at 8:02 PM

fossten on February 1, 2016 at 8:02 PM

Since he probably stole my TOTUS joke, I hope you extend your streak a long time. Good job!

Christien on February 1, 2016 at 8:06 PM

One can only hope that the shine will soon wear off of the delirious infatuation with The Donald, and liberty-loving Conservatives will follow their brains, instead of their hearts. . .

Freelancer on February 1, 2016 at 8:12 PM

JannyMae on February 1, 2016 at 7:49 PM

typical Trump-sucker who can’t accept reality.

annoyinglittletwerp on February 1, 2016 at 8:41 PM

Ha! Ha!

Oldflyer on February 2, 2016 at 1:22 AM

Prediction time: Trump 30, Cruz 28, Rubio 17

Wow, AP. It’s a good thing you’re not a paid political analyst or anything.

Th8is was typical of those who chose to predict. they blather about how unreliable the polls in Iowa are, then proceed to predict exactly what the polls said, give or take.

HornHiAceDeuce on February 2, 2016 at 8:25 AM

Opps!

Dan333 on February 2, 2016 at 11:19 AM

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