USA Today has some good lessons from Iowa:
The numbers leave little doubt that Trump made a serious mistake in boycotting the Iowa debate. More than a third of Republican voters (35%) said they made up their minds about which candidate to support in “the last few days.” Among these late deciders, Rubio led the way with 30%, Cruz finished second with 25%, and Trump lagged badly with just 14%. By contrast, among those who had decided earlier than “the last few days,” Trump tied Cruz (both drawing 30%), while Rubio drew only 19%. The Rubio momentum in the final days of the campaign undoubtedly reflected his strong performance in the Iowa debate four days before the caucuses, while Trump’s weakness among last-minute deciders (with less than half the support he got from those who made their choices previously) stemmed at least in part from the bone-headed strategy of failing to appear on that crucial Iowa stage.
Trump thought the debate needed him more than he needed the debate. He was wrong.
Hillary remains profoundly vulnerable on the issue of personal integrity. Among Democratic caucus participants, 24% said the quality that mattered most to them was that a candidate should be “honest and trustworthy.” Among these voters, Bernie Sanders slaughtered Clinton by a staggering 83% to 10%. If the Republicans choose a candidate who conveys a sense of ethics and authenticity, they should be able to peel away some of these Democratic voters — as well as scoring big gains among the independents who care about the honesty issue.
Clinton also has a huge problem with younger voters. Look at the age skew in the entrance polls for Iowa:
- Under 30s: Sanders +70%!!!
- 30 to 44: Sanders +21%
- 45 to 64: Clinton +23%
- 65+: Clinton +43%