Final ‘Des Moines Register’ Iowa Caucus Poll: Is It Cruz, Trump, Or Rubio?

The Des Moines Register has just released its final Iowa Caucus poll before actual U.S. presidential preference voting starts on Monday evening, less than 48 hours from now.

The significance here is that the highly respected Register‘s Iowa Poll is considered by many journalists as the gold standard for its historical accuracy in terms of the final result after all the votes are counted.

On the Republican presidential candidate side, New York real estate mogul and national front-runner Donald Trump leads with 28 percent over Texas Senator Ted Cruz with 23 percent. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, around which there has buzz about a last-minute surge, is in third place with 15 percent. The Register theorizes that Cruz might still win because of the large number of Republican caucus-goers who could still change their mind and that both Cruz and Rubio are fallback selections for many.

The Register survey marks the first time that Trump, who is receiving a lot of support from first-time caucus-goers, has been ahead in the state of Iowa according to that poll since August 2015.

Based on the Real Clear Politics average of six major polls, Trump has about a six percent lead in Iowa.

“On candidate traits tested, Trump won on almost every question. He beats Cruz on being most feared by U.S. enemies (50 percent to 21 percent), potential to bring about needed change (37 percent to 21 percent), being a strong leader (32 percent to 23 percent), prospects for winning a general election (35 percent to 24 percent) and keeping ‘your family safest’ (28 percent to 24 percent),” Bloomberg Politics explained about the Iowa Poll, which also claimed that Cruz is “more popular and respected” than Trump.

“The latest Register poll showed Mr. Rubio, at 15%, pulling ahead of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson for the first time in months, putting the Florida senator in a good position to present himself as the clearest alternative for voters looking to back a candidate other than Messrs. Cruz or Trump,” the Wall Street Journal observed.

Boycotting the GOP debate Thursday night in favor of an event with U.S. military veterans hasn’t harmed Donald Trump much. The data suggest that 56 percent of the respondents indicated that Trump’s decision to skip the debate nationally televised on the Fox News Channel made no difference to them.

In Trump’s absence, Cruz wound up being put on the defensive during most of that event.

Trump has been pounding “nasty guy” Cruz, among other things, for allegedly being a so-called Canadian anchor baby who may not be eligible to serve as president under the U.S. Constitution.

On the Democrat side, the Iowa Poll reveals that Hillary Clinton leads Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders by 45 percent to 42 percent. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley clocked in with just 3 percent. The Washington Post calls it a statistical tie given that the poll has a four-point margin of error.

“Clinton, a former first lady and former secretary of state, wins a majority among caucusgoers who are 65 and older, Catholics and moderates. Sanders, a U.S. senator representing Vermont, wins a majority of those under 35, first-time caucusgoers and political independents,” the Des Moines Register observed. Moreover, 83 percent of Clinton’s support is rock solid, while only 69 percent is the same for Sanders, a socialist running for president as a Democrat.

Clinton may be losing the younger cohort to the 74-year-old Sanders because of her husband’s reputation for infidelities and the fact that many people believe that she served as an enabler for his philandering.

For both Trump and Sanders, turnout among their new-to-politics supporters is going to be crucial, especially with a snow storm in the forecast.

The final Des Moines Register Iowa Poll took place on January 26 through 29 and is comprised of about 600 Republicans and 600 Democrats who are likely Iowa Caucus participants.

In the end, who do you think will win the Iowa Caucus?