The 2016 U.S. presidential race is beginning to heat up as President Obama prepares to give his final State of the Union address on Tuesday night and the first presidential caucus begins in Iowa only 3 weeks away followed by the New Hampshire Primary.
Historically speaking, Iowa has a poor track record when it comes to influencing who will become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee although the caucus results often give both political parties an indication about which candidates might perform well at their party’s national convention.
In 2011 Iowa selected Rick Santorum who rose to the top in Iowa caucuses but then failed to win the Republican presidential nomination.
Iowa has a larger majority of Republicans who are conservative Evangelical Christians compared to New Hampshire which has a more moderate mix of Republicans and is considered to be a swing state.
In the New Hampshire Primary, presidential candidates who perform poorly there typically drop out while lesser known candidates who do well in this small New England state can gain valuable momentum and become a serious contender on the national stage.
According to the latest Marist/WSJ-NBC poll released today, Republican candidate Senator Ted Cruz (Texas), who is solidly backed by Tea Party conservatives and was one of the main Republican leaders who spearheaded the resistance during the October 2013 government shutdown, calling for an end to the Affordable Care Act, still maintains a small lead over Donald Trump in Iowa but he trails Trump in New Hampshire where he falls all the way to 4th.
In Iowa Cruz leads with 28 percent compared to Trump’s 24 percent. Rubio is in third place in Iowa with 13 percent followed by Ben Carson at 11 percent, Rand Paul at 5 percent, Bush at 4 percent, and both Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina at 3 percent.
In New Hampshire, Trump leads by a larger margin with 30 percent compared to Florida Senator Marco Rubio at 14 percent, Chris Christie at 12 percent, Senator Ted Cruz at 10 percent, and both Ohio Governor John Kasich and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush at 9 percent. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul captured five percent in New Hampshire followed by Ben Carson at 4 percent and Carly Fiorina at 3 percent.
On the Democratic presidential side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders by a small margin (48 percent to 45 percent) but in New Hampshire the picture is different and Sanders has overtaken Clinton, leading with 50 percent compared to 46 percent. Martin O’Malley received 5 percent in Iowa and 1 percent in New Hampshire.
In the general election category, Clinton edges Trump by 8 points in Iowa and 1 point in New Hampshire.
In both Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton trails Cruz and Rubio. The largest margin occurred in New Hampshire where Rubio leads Clinton by 12 percent.
Fox News also came out with a new poll on Friday that shows Republican billionaire Trump leading the others with 35 percent compared to Cruz at 20 percent. Rubio is in third place followed by Carson. Jeb Bush captured 4 percent followed by Carly Fiorina at 3 percent. Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Rand Paul all get 2 percent.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton holds a lead over Sanders (54 percent to 39 percent) and O’Malley comes in third with 3 percent.
According to the poll results, Trump beats Clinton in a general election (47 percent to 44 percent) while Cruz and Rubio also have an advantage over Clinton.
Trump appeals as a political outsider feeding off Republican angst against President Obama and the Republican establishment.
Although Trump lacks political experience, his political views over the years have been all over the place and don’t always align with the Republican conservative base or the Republican establishment camp.
During a recent rally in Ottumwa, Iowa last week Donald Trump appeared to be a clone of Democratic candidate Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders when he vowed to “tax Wall Street” even though the billionaire Republican from New York has gained support from at least one Wall Street billionaire, Carl Icahn.
Trump raised eyebrows across the globe when he came out in support of “total and complete” shutdown of Muslims entering the United States following the tragic massacres by Islamic extremists in Paris and California.
When asked about the process for deciding about the ban on Muslims during NBC’s Meet The Press which aired on Sunday, Trump said “there’s got to be some kind of method” but then struggled to articulate what shape the process will take and admitted a few seconds later that “certain people” who are “proven” or “business people” can come in.
“Certain people come in. If they’re business people, if they’re proven. But we have to find out what the problem is. Now, we can be politically correct and never discuss it. But we can’t let that happen to our country” Trump said on Meet the Press.
Most legal experts believe that a categorical ban on one religious group such as Muslims presents serious legal challenges and would be difficult to enforce.
Trump also believes in having Mexico pay for a new border wall and wants to deport 11 million illegal immigrants from the United States and then “allow the good ones to return” which sounds like a convoluted process to implement.
Here is a Fact Check of Trump’s 5 Point Immigration Plan
In Trump’s earlier days he supported a ban on assault rifles, a single payer health system, and abortion. But Trump has now come out with his guns blazing and has reversed course on many of these polices.
Senator Ted Cruz
Once called a “wacko bird” by Arizona Senator John McCain for his filibuster role in 2013 towards CIA Director John Brennan, Texas Senator Ted Cruz is trying to recast himself more as a “political outsider” even though he is not truly one.
Cruz has called some establishment Republicans in his party part of the “Washington cartel,” a term that he made up and later defined.
Here is Cruz’s definition of the term:
“The Washington Cartel consists of career politicians in both parties who get in bed with lobbyists and special interests here in Washington and grow and grow and grow government. The Washington Cartel is, I believe, the source of the volcanic frustration Americans face across this country.”