Has “Trump fever” broken?

posted at 10:01 am on February 2, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

Flipping channels last night, the consensus forming in the wake of the Republican caucuses in Iowa cast Donald Trump as the yuuuuuge loser of the evening. Trump underperformed the polls and got beaten by the man he had most seriously targeted for his barbs over the past month, Ted Cruz. By losing in Iowa’s caucuses, Trump had lost the veneer of invincibility — or as William Whalen put it for Fox News, “Trump fever has broken.”

Well, maybe, but this isn’t exactly a solid diagnosis:

Mister Trump, Meet Mister Tyson. The former boxer is credited with saying that “everyone has a plan ‘til they get punched in the mouth.”

On Monday night, Trump was on the receiving end of said punch.

Yes, the turnout turned out to be a record high, as Trump had promised. But not all the newcomers flocked in his direction, as he also prophesized.

According to Fox News entrance polls, the late-deciders broke first to Marco Rubio, then Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and then Trump – one reason why Rubio finished a close third (much closer than expected) to the flamboyant developer.

One way to look at Trump’s bad night: going into the caucuses, Trump stood at 28.6 percent in the Real Clear Politics Average. He finished with only 24 percent [24.3, actually –Ed] on Caucus night.

This was one of the more puzzling arguments offered last night by talking heads as well. The variation between those two numbers (4.3 points) is probably outside of a traditional margin of error in polling, but only just. Similarly, Cruz’ result (27.7%) lands just within a traditional MoE of his polling average (23.9%, 3.8 points lower). The only candidate to clearly outperform his polling was Marco Rubio, whose finish was 6.2 points higher than his RCP average of 16.9% over the past month.

The difference in Iowa was probably ground organization and perhaps lingering annoyance over Trump’s decision to bail on the final debate in Iowa. The former favored Cruz, but the latter might have pushed late deciders to go to Rubio’s corner. It was a tactical error by Trump, to be sure, but hardly a fatal one. Trump ended up with one less delegate than Cruz, and the same as Rubio — five. Trump didn’t win Iowa, but other than for his reputation, he didn’t really need to win; he just needed to stay competitive. And the reasons for that are New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Now let’s look at New Hampshire, whose primary takes place a week from today. The RCP average there has Trump in front of his nearest competitors (Cruz and John Kasich) by nearly twenty-two points. Other than two ARG polls in this period, Trump’s lead hasn’t been in single digits since October. If the Trump celebrity/earned-media strategy creates a similar fade next week as it did yesterday, Trump might end up scoring 28% to around 16% for his nearest competitor. Trump’s lead in South Carolina is almost as large as in New Hampshire.

The only real risk for Trump this week is if everyone else but Cruz and Rubio got out of the race — and Kasich, Jeb Bush, and Chris Christie have aimed at New Hampshire all along.

Now, it’s possible things can change for Trump by losing in Iowa. He dumped a barrage of cheap shots on Cruz, which apparently backfired to some degree, and Marco Rubio’s sudden strength will be a signal to the Bush/Christie/Kasich wing that voters may have set their sights on the future rather than the past. The race will consolidate, and that’s to Trump’s disadvantage. Don’t look to New Hampshire to see those dynamics take place, but to South Carolina, where the campaigns with good ground organizations have time to exploit them more fully. At the same time, it’s far too early to tell whether “Trump fever” has broken, or just been tempered with some tough-but-surmountable political reality.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

You stated what you were going to do and I replied. To repeat,HOW I VOTE IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

katy the mean old lady on February 2, 2016 at 1:19 PM

Oh yes it is. If you’re going to post your intentions on here, expect criticism and have to defend it.

If you can’t handle it then don’t post your intentions.

Unfortunately we all have to suffer due to your stupidity.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 1:37 PM

It is not pathetic for a conservative to refuse to vote for a non-conservative at the top of the ticket. I don’t think I’m the only person this election cycle who has decided they won’t vote for another miserable GOP candidate that I can’t stand.

Immolate on February 2, 2016 at 1:20 PM

Hillary thanks you for your vote.

Good job.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 1:37 PM

You don’t seem to know how this internet thing works. Keep whining your way to victimhood.

katy the mean old lady on February 2, 2016 at 1:40 PM

Oh yes it is. If you’re going to post your intentions on here, expect criticism and have to defend it.

If you can’t handle it then don’t post your intentions.

Unfortunately we all have to suffer due to your stupidity.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 1:37 PM

Will you be following people into the voting booth?

katy the mean old lady on February 2, 2016 at 1:42 PM

Hillary thanks you for your vote.

Good job.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 1:37 PM

Did you vote for McCain or Romney?

Both lost. Obama won.

This stupid idea that republicans will support the candidate no matter who they are lost the last two elections. But by all means continue to believe that were are obligated to support the garbage that the establishment pushes on us.

Bigbullets on February 2, 2016 at 1:43 PM

Oh yes it is. If you’re going to post your intentions on here, expect criticism and have to defend it.

If you can’t handle it then don’t post your intentions.

Unfortunately we all have to suffer due to your stupidity.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 1:37 PM

I think they have a name for your condition. The one where you’re forced to say or do things against your will. I think it’s called being a jerk.

Man up and take responsibility for being a jerk. No one forced you to be a jerk. It’s a choice.

Bigbullets on February 2, 2016 at 1:45 PM

I think they have a name for your condition. The one where you’re forced to say or do things against your will. I think it’s called being a jerk.

Man up and take responsibility for being a jerk. No one forced you to be a jerk. It’s a choice.

Bigbullets on February 2, 2016 at 1:45 PM

Right after Katy takes responsibility for being stupid for refusing to vote for the top of the ticket if her guy doesn’t get the nomination.

I don’t want 8 years of Hillary, obamacare further implemented, and Hillary Scotus appointments.

Perhaps you do?

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 1:48 PM

That’s why anyone who refuses to vote for the top of ticket in November is a friggin moron!!

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 1:04 PM

How’d that work out for your candidate last time?

The morons were the ones thinking McLame or Romney could win.

But please, continue to think conservatives are a bunch of sheep who will vote for whatever idiot is foisted upon us.

Bigbullets on February 2, 2016 at 1:48 PM

Bigbullets on February 2, 2016 at 1:48 PM

Hey Genius:

I was ON HERE supporting Cain. Then Bachmann, then Santorum in the 2012 primaries. I supported the most conservative guy over RINO Mitt in the primary.

THen I supported RINO Mittens over Obama when there was no other choice. Not my fault he didn’t win. I even knocked on doors, but I didn’t want him to win the primary.

Still Mittens would’ve been better than Obama. For starters there’s no way Mittens would’ve done that Iran deal and a number of other disastrous things.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 1:51 PM

Right after Katy takes responsibility for being stupid for refusing to vote for the top of the ticket if her guy doesn’t get the nomination.

I don’t want 8 years of Hillary, obamacare further implemented, and Hillary Scotus appointments.

Perhaps you do?

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 1:48 PM

You put up a stupid candidate, you lose.

Don’t blame people for rejecting the idiots you put up the last two times.

It’s not stupid to reject an awful candidate. And, contrary to your opinion, conservatives aren’t sheep to vote for these idiots. You want people to vote for your candidate, then put one up that’s worth voting for.

Stupidity is putting up awful candidates. Put the blame where it goes.

Bigbullets on February 2, 2016 at 1:52 PM

Will you be following people into the voting booth?

katy the mean old lady on February 2, 2016 at 1:42 PM

Not very good at reading comprehension are you.

I said I”ll continue to criticize you and others on here who have the need to publicly proclaim that they refuse to vote for POTUS.

And I do the same thing in person to anyone else who announces that they are a loser.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 1:53 PM

Time for Trump to start considering an independent run. If he can’t get Hillary in the white house by being her opponent in the general election, his only other option is to be a spoiler.

Repaying cronyism favors can be a real b!tch. But I’m sure Team Clinton will reimburse his expenses.

Now if only an indictment would come along or Sanders starts beating her soundly. Would save Trump and us a lot of time, money and trouble.

Oxymoron on February 2, 2016 at 1:54 PM

Read my last reply there bullets….and get some bigger bullets… you’re gonna need them you’re in over your head.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 1:54 PM

Hey Genius:

I was ON HERE supporting Cain. Then Bachmann, then Santorum in the 2012 primaries. I supported the most conservative guy over RINO Mitt in the primary.

THen I supported RINO Mittens over Obama when there was no other choice. Not my fault he didn’t win. I even knocked on doors, but I didn’t want him to win the primary.

Still Mittens would’ve been better than Obama. For starters there’s no way Mittens would’ve done that Iran deal and a number of other disastrous things.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 1:51 PM

Cain? Really? Bachman? Really? Santorum? Really?

Romney was horrible. For so many reasons.

And the reason he was the candidate is exactly the premise that you’re promoting. That republicans will support the candidate no matter who it is. That they are a bunch of rubes. Do you get that? The whole premise underlying your attack is what got McLame and Romney nominated.

Insulting people who aren’t willing to support these clowns is beyond ridiculous. If the GOP wants to win, they need to nominate someone who isn’t a clown.

Bigbullets on February 2, 2016 at 1:57 PM

I don’t want 8 years of Hillary, obamacare further implemented, and Hillary Scotus appointments.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 1:48 PM

Then work to make that not happen.

Whining and denigrating those who have had enough of the establishment ain’t the way.

cozmo on February 2, 2016 at 1:57 PM

Read my last reply there bullets….and get some bigger bullets… you’re gonna need them you’re in over your head.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 1:54 PM

Read mine.

Your lame philosophy is exactly what gave us McLame and Romney. But by all means continue to ridicule those who demand a decent candidate.

If more people refused to endorse horrible candidates, we wouldn’t keep ending up with them.

Bigbullets on February 2, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Then work to make that not happen.

Whining and denigrating those who have had enough of the establishment ain’t the way.

cozmo on February 2, 2016 at 1:57 PM

What do you think I’ve been doing?

I’ll continue to denigrate those who refuse to vote for the nominee. It’s completely disingenuous and a huge stretch to say there’s no difference between say (Rubio) and Hillary.

That should p!ss off any good conservative and you should be with me in criticizing those people if you have any hope of saving this country.

THose refusing to vote are quitters who’ve given up.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 2:04 PM

What do you think I’ve been doing?

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 2:04 PM

Insulting people that may change their minds.

But won’t if pompous asses keep screaming about how stupid he thinks they are.

cozmo on February 2, 2016 at 2:06 PM

That should p!ss off any good conservative and you should be with me in criticizing those people if you have any hope of saving this country.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 2:04 PM

Wrong. Many good conservatives are also ready to sit out if forced to back the establishment, again.

The “let it burn” mentality helped to create Trump’s base.

Why the heII would I join you in what I consider a stupid tactic?

cozmo on February 2, 2016 at 2:10 PM

Cain? Really? Bachman? Really? Santorum? Really?

Romney was horrible. For so many reasons.

And the reason he was the candidate is exactly the premise that you’re promoting. That republicans will support the candidate no matter who it is. That they are a bunch of rubes. Do you get that? The premise underlying your attack is what got McLame and Romney nominated.

Insulting people who aren’t willing to support these clowns is beyond ridiculous. If the GOP wants to win, they need to nominate someone who isn’t a clown.

Bigbullets on February 2, 2016 at 1:57 PM

Who’d you support in 2012?

I was fighting for a conservative to beat Romney but I’m the problem?

The idea of sending a message to the GOPe by staying home in the general election didn’t work. 3 million less or so voted for Romney than McCain but the GOPe didn’t learn their lesson.

In the end the people get screwed. And we get screwed even worse by having obama instead of Romney.

So yeah it p!sses me off to here people saying they’re sit the election out.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 2:13 PM

I doubt that the voters in New Hampshire really care about who the voters in Iowa chose. If anything this will motivate Trump’s supporters even more strongly to get out and vote.

Rose on February 2, 2016 at 2:13 PM

Insulting people that may change their minds.

But won’t if pompous asses keep screaming about how stupid he thinks they are.

cozmo on February 2, 2016 at 2:06 PM

That’s pretty hypocritical.

You don’t like me insulting people and think it turns everyone off.

This coming from someone on a site overrun with Trump supporters.

He sure is a classy guy.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 2:14 PM

He sure is a classy guy.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 2:14 PM

And you are becoming a fool.

cozmo on February 2, 2016 at 2:18 PM

And you are becoming a fool.

cozmo on February 2, 2016 at 2:18 PM

You sound like a liberal.

No one can have their feelings hurt.

Rather then see our country go to hell by so called conservatives sitting at home I’m willing to hurt some feelings.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 2:21 PM

Who’d you support in 2012?

I was fighting for a conservative to beat Romney but I’m the problem?

The idea of sending a message to the GOPe by staying home in the general election didn’t work. 3 million less or so voted for Romney than McCain but the GOPe didn’t learn their lesson.

In the end the people get screwed. And we get screwed even worse by having obama instead of Romney.

So yeah it p!sses me off to here people saying they’re sit the election out.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 2:13 PM

Crickets?

Come on bullets, who’d you support?

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 2:22 PM

Rather then see our country go to hell…

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 2:21 PM

That happened seven years ago. It will take more than an establishment who won’t reverse course to bring her back.

As much as it will hurt me, and millions more, better to let her fester a little longer than only take half measures and cement the changes.

cozmo on February 2, 2016 at 2:26 PM

Who’d you support in 2012?

I was fighting for a conservative to beat Romney but I’m the problem?

The idea of sending a message to the GOPe by staying home in the general election didn’t work. 3 million less or so voted for Romney than McCain but the GOPe didn’t learn their lesson.

In the end the people get screwed. And we get screwed even worse by having obama instead of Romney.

So yeah it p!sses me off to here people saying they’re sit the election out.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 2:13 PM

You want to be mad, I get that. But it’s not our fault. It’s not the fault of those who stayed home.

You want someone to blame? Blame the people who put up McLame and Romney. Don’t resort to the ELECTABILITY (you’ll vote for whoever we put up or you’re the reason we lost) garbage to blame the voters. Romney and McLame lost because they weren’t conservatives and thumbed their nose at the base. They were idiots. That’s why they lost.

I blame McLame and Romney for not being self-aware enough to realize they couldn’t win. Were never going to win.

You want someone to blame, blame the people who lost. Not those who refused to vote for them.

Bigbullets on February 2, 2016 at 2:26 PM

You sound like a liberal.

No one can have their feelings hurt.

Rather then see our country go to hell by so called conservatives sitting at home I’m willing to hurt some feelings.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 2:21 PM

You can disagree without being a jerk, or so I’m told.

Bigbullets on February 2, 2016 at 2:28 PM

Yeah, I’m not a Trump voter, but by no means has Trump lost the primary.

Trump is still very much a player.

I figure it’s no longer probable Trump will win the primary, but he still could. He has several disadvantages, but he’s not some easy push over either.

I’d give the odds for the primary outcome as something like this:

Cruz: 35%
Rubio: 30%
Contested Convention: 15%
Trump: 13%
Someone else: 7%

Sackett on February 2, 2016 at 2:32 PM

You can disagree without being a jerk, or so I’m told.

Bigbullets on February 2, 2016 at 2:28 PM

So says the guy who assumed I was a Romney supporter without knowing the facts.

3 questions:

1. Who did you support in 2012?

2. Did you sit out the General Election?

3. Who are you supporting in the primary?

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 2:34 PM

As much as it will hurt me, and millions more, better to let her fester a little longer than only take half measures and cement the changes.

cozmo on February 2, 2016 at 2:26 PM

So what happens when Hillary nominates a few more radicals to the SCOTUS and then they start taking away guns and other atrocities?

Or when she does a few more Iran deals, releases some terrorists, lets some more Americans die, etc?

Rubio is much better.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 2:36 PM

Bigbullets on February 2, 2016 at 2:28 PM

Meh, I’ve been called worse. By folks less ignorant.

cozmo on February 2, 2016 at 2:36 PM

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 2:36 PM

Civil War II. I expect a different outcome this time.

cozmo on February 2, 2016 at 2:37 PM

Civil War II. I expect a different outcome this time.

cozmo on February 2, 2016 at 2:37 PM

Which proves my point, don’t sit at home, support the nominee!

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 2:43 PM

…support the nominee!

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 2:43 PM

If the establishment nominee continues the policies that got us here? Why? It will only forestall the inevitable a little while. Best to get it over with now, while the rest of the world is also in flux.

cozmo on February 2, 2016 at 2:48 PM

If the establishment nominee continues the policies that got us here? Why? It will only forestall the inevitable a little while. Best to get it over with now, while the rest of the world is also in flux.

cozmo on February 2, 2016 at 2:48 PM

So just give up and flush the entire country down the toilet?

Tell our kids sucks to be you?

Worst case nominee (Rubio). Believes in capitalism, not socialism.

Supports a strong military, will fight ISIS and terrorism.

WOn’t cut deals like the Iran deal and release terrorists.

Won’t spend nearly as much as Hillary.

I suspect you’d end up agreeing with RUbio 80% or so of the time.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 3:03 PM

It’s cute that you simps are still arguing back and forth like it matters who you vote for. Wrong, but cute.

gryphon202 on February 2, 2016 at 3:19 PM

I don’t want 8 years of Hillary, obamacare further implemented, and Hillary Scotus appointments.

Perhaps you do?

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 1:48 PM

Since there is no difference between Rubio/GOPe and Hillary, it sounds like you’re perfectly fine with her. Why do you need our vote?

dominigan on February 2, 2016 at 3:30 PM

Since there is no difference between Rubio/GOPe and Hillary, it sounds like you’re perfectly fine with her. Why do you need our vote?

dominigan on February 2, 2016 at 3:30 PM

There’s a major difference. I already pointed it out, you’re simply not listening.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 4:12 PM

No, Trump support is alive and strong. We will win this nomination fight.

cimbri on February 2, 2016 at 6:15 PM

Anyone who has looked at the history of the conservative vote in Iowa should be giving Trump a little credit rather than trying to declare his campaign in trouble. I would also like to see how much each of the top three spent over the last 10 days. That may say a little more about the outcome than Fox’s storyline that Trump didn’t finish first because he didn’t go to their all important debate.

I’ve got a fever to stop the nonsense in Washington DC and the only chance for any real change is….Trump 2016!

tnarch on February 2, 2016 at 11:23 PM

There’s a major difference. I already pointed it out, you’re simply not listening.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 4:12 PM

I’m listening. You are not. You are shouting. You are shouting us down with namecalling. You are screaming at us how to vote. You are THREATENING us if we don’t vote for your person. In short, you are acting the part of a loud obnoxious tyrant.

Scream your conservative credentials again at us while calling us names and demanding we vote as you demand. Proclaim yourself king conservative as you ignore freedom and demand our servitude.

If you are a “conservative”, I want no part of your delusional behavior.

I support freedom, even yours to vote for someone other than I support.

You already acknowledge that you do not support our freedoms to vote.

You embarrass yourself. Stop digging before you hit China.

dominigan on February 3, 2016 at 12:23 AM

“Trump fever broken?” Not a chance, just check the comments at Breitbart.

RoyalFlush on February 3, 2016 at 11:50 AM

Nope, America stills needs and wants Trump as the only viable candidate who has the know how to save America. The count last night has to be determined by the % among the two, which means they came out even steven. Stop pushing Cruz as he is not ready for the WH but can be a VP and learn and then run for president. Meanwhile, we need REAL help to get America back. Don’t let the GOP cheat us with an Electoral College vote against OUR candidate who obviously is still way ahead in all polls, good and bad ones. Yea.

Roselle on February 3, 2016 at 1:33 PM

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