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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

2016 Presidential Race Begins with Iowa

The 2016 Presidential Race has officially started with the first primary elections (Iowa calls it a caucus) starting in Iowa on February 1. So many changes since my last analysis on October 28. Just like many polls, pundits, and analysts made mistakes back in October, so did I. Among my worst errors:

* Hillary Clinton would easily secure the Democratic nomination.
* Ben Carson would be the toughest competitor against GOP front runner Donald Trump.

With the Iowa caucus results in, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are pretty much tied. Hillary barely beats Bernie by a hair by 0.3 points (49.9% to 49.6%). As solid and invincible as Hillary seemed in the past, Bernie continued to be faithful, diligent, and persistent. Hillary Clinton's old problems did not just fade away, her problems only compounded into worsening problems. Her private email server as Secretary of State worsened, as the FBI and DOJ launched investigations, only to find she stored and mishandled top secret classified emails on her unsecured private email server. Then there are the rise of terrorist groups and an ever worsening situation in the Middle East which she could not contain, and unending situations of unscrupulous campaign donations and finances. What formerly seemed like a sure Democratic nomination is now a tossup that will go late in the primary season, like April or after, to see who wins the Democratic nomination.

The winners of the Republican party are Ted Cruz (28% votes, 8 delegates), Donald Trump (24% votes, 7 delegates), and Marco Rubio (23% votes, 7 delegates). Everyone else received less than 10% percent of votes, and if any of those GOP candidates fail to make it in the top 3 in the coming few weeks, their campaign is dead.

The surprises on the Republican side was that Ted Cruz won first place, and Marco Rubio came in a strong third place, almost tying with Trump. Recent polls just a few days ago showed Trump was barely leading Cruz by about 3 or 4 points. I am convinced it has to do with Trump's miscalculation to skip the GOP Presidential debate in Iowa, hosted by Fox News, that was held just a few days away from the Iowa Caucus date. Trump's arrogance got to him, and enough Iowan voters viewed Trump's absence from the debate as a sign of snobbish arrogance which turned off enough voters and switch to Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or others who showed diligence by making the effort to attend the debate and humbly reach out to the voters. Also, the Fox News debate was so close to the Iowa Caucus, just a few days away, that polls didn't have enough time to pick up the changed reactions of the Iowan voters.

Nevertheless, Donald Trump seemed to learn his lesson when he gave his speech that night, after he realized he came in second place. Trump still has a strong standing, with 7 delegate votes, just one vote behind Ted Cruz, and there are 49 more states to go in this long primary election.

What seemed like a sure Trump vs Clinton election is now a likely Trump vs Clinton or Sanders election. The next primary is February 9 in New Hampshire.


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