On Tuesday, thousands of Iowan voters went to their voting precincts to choose who they supported as Presidential candidate for their party. After the dust had settled, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) had won the state for his party, and Hillary Clinton claimed victory for the Democratic Party with a difference of three state delegates.
Bigger surprises that arose out of the evening were the second-place finish of consistent poll leader, Donald Trump, who lost to Cruz by around 6,200 votes. Another surprise in the outcome of the Republican caucus was Marco Rubio. This surprise was not just by how much he had jumped in the polls, but how close he was to Cruz and Trump in the final results, making Rubio a potential force to be reckoned with. Finally, on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders surprised many by how close he finished to Clinton, considering that only a few months ago he trailed Clinton by more than 45 percent.
The results were not without controversy, however, with results potentially being tipped by claims of voter fraud, and decisions made by a coin toss. Claims of Cruz campaign workers telling Ben Carson supporters that their candidate dropped out of the race and they should switch to their candidate [Cruz] ran rampant across many precincts across the state. On the Democratic side, the caucus grew so close in some areas that the rules had turned the process into a game of chance, with coin flips determining the winner in a reported seven different precincts, with Clinton winning six of those flips.
Regardless of the results, and the controversies that remained after results were announced, the mudslinging continues. Ben Carson has demanded an apology for the acts of the Cruz campaign, and Donald Trump has threaten lawsuits as he felt that this act should immediately throw out Cruz’s win. Cruz has since offered an apology to the Carson campaign by stating that it was a news outlets’ mismanaged reporting that caused his supporters to spread this information around.
For now, the remaining candidates are in New Hampshire for that state’s primary next week. Since the caucus: Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum have dropped out of the Republican race, while Martin O’Malley has left the Democratic race. Sanders holds a large lead over Clinton and, barring a major gaffe, is expected to win. Trump holds a sizeable lead over Cruz and Rubio based on the latest polls. But as Iowa has demonstrated, polls do not truly hold much weight until votes are cast. And we could see more surprises come Tuesday.