Donald Trump suffered a stinging defeat by Ted Cruz in the Iowa caucus on Monday, and now heads to New Hampshire.
Many election forecasters like FiveThirtyEight have said
that Trump's "round-the-clock media coverage" led to inflated poll numbers, and that Iowa may have represented a bursting of the Trump "bubble."
Trump and his supporters, on the other hand, point out that the candidate did not prioritize Iowa, as he always knew his strongest base of support in the early state primaries would be New Hampshire.
Gathered below are seven reasons Donald Trump can still win New Hampshire, as well as the Republican nomination and, ultimately, the presidency.
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1. He has an overwhelming lead in the polls
— "Trump’s overwhelming lead in the polls," Politico reported
Thursday, "is far larger than his advantage in Iowa." According to Real Clear Politics
, Trump is leading his nearest competitor, Marco Rubio, by 21 percentage points in New Hampshire. In Iowa, he was only leading by 4.7 points heading into caucus day.
2. New Hampshire is less evangelical, more moderate
— Cruz won Iowa in part because he was backed by religious evangelical voters, which are more plentiful in the Midwest and southern states, The Washington Post reported
. In the northeastern state of New Hampshire, there are fewer religious types and more moderates and libertarians, and that's where candidates seen as less appealing to evangelicals often devote their time and resources. Trump, a New York billionaire on his third marriage, is more likely to appeal to New Hampshire voters than Iowans.
3. Establishment candidates will divide the vote
— "There are more candidates competing in New Hampshire, many of whom have practically lived there for months or years," a New Hampshire Republican told Politico this week, referring to Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich. "Congrats to Rubio [on placing third in Iowa], but now everyone will [go] after him with withering attacks. The real race in New Hampshire is for second," said another Republican.
4. Trump will defuse Cruz's "disgraceful" tactics this time
— "Ted Cruz didn't win Iowa, he stole it," Trump tweeted
after his defeat in Iowa, pointing out suspicious get-out-the-vote flyers that Cruz's campaign reportedly distributed. "What he did was a disgrace," Trump told Fox News on Wednesday, USA Today reported
. "And it's a disgrace to the electoral process." Ben Carson also took issue with the Cruz campaign, accusing it of spreading false rumors that he was dropping out of the race. Cruz subsequently apologized to Carson, but now all of the candidates, especially Trump and Carson, will be vigilant and ready to stop Cruz and his tactics.
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5. He's still drawing record crowds to his rallies
— Donald Trump explained to a WBUR
reporter in Milford, New Hampshire, on Tuesday why he opts for bigger arena events over smaller town halls. "You know one of the reporters just asked me, why don’t you do town hall meetings? I said, because there’s another room this size where it’s packed, also. So, we have 5,000 people. And, if we do town halls, we’ll be doing about 200 a day and we still won’t be able to catch up."
6. He's back on top of the news cycle
— On Wednesday, Trump commented on President Barack Obama's recent visit to a mosque to give a speech. "Maybe he feels comfortable there," he said, igniting headlines around the globe, The Washington Post reported
. While Trump continues to garner the front page, Ted Cruz's moment in the spotlight after his Iowa win was already fading two days later.
7. Cruz's Trump-bashing could backfire
— Following his win in Iowa, "Ted Cruz was in rare form Wednesday night as he mocked Donald Trump over everything from losing Iowa to a previous record of liberal policy positions," Politico reported
. Cruz made fun of the way Trump says "huge," accused him of throwing a "Trumper Tantrum" after his loss, and suggested Trump shamefully walked away from his debts when he declared bankruptcy. While the attacks might resonate with Cruz's core supporters, too many personal attacks can sometimes make a candidate appear petty, and turn off undecided voters.
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