As the vote neared, and especially in the last debate, Cruz relied heavily on the seal of approval from Steve King to show he was an immigration patriot and not a flip-flopper. King aggressively mobilized Iowa conservatives to rally behind Cruz and was able to give him the kind of local support he needed to push back against Terry Branstad. And Cruz really started taking the lead in Iowa when Jeff Sessions stated a few weeks ago that Cruz was actually the key person who defeated the Gang of Eight bill [Jeff Sessions: Without Ted Cruz, Amnesty Would Have Passed in 2013, Real Clear Politics, December 20, 2015].
A poll of VDARE.com readers showed the overwhelming majority of you support Donald Trump for President. However, it's undeniable that before Donald Trump entered the race, immigration patriots would have been thrilled with Ted Cruz as the Republican frontrunner compared to the likes of Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, or Chris Christie.
So what happened? Trump's support held out, but late deciders broke for Marco Rubio and Cruz. This tells us a few things. First, Trump's lead in the polls may be misleading because his support has a certain ceiling. Second, conservatives, especially Iowa conservatives, were affected by the Conservatism Inc. drumbeat over the last few weeks that Trump isn't a "real" conservative (unlike, say, Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush). Fox News also really poured it on for Rubio as the caucuses neared. And third, Cruz simply out organized Trump.
That said, for Ted Cruz, Iowa was a must win. He simply survives after tonight. This race would have been over if Trump had pulled it out tonight. However, Cruz supporters shouldn't be too comfortable. Iowa is the one state custom made for Cruz. He has a much harder road ahead.
But now, New Hampshire is a must win for Donald Trump. Cruz just needs to not get completely blown out of the water.
Will Trump's support collapse? It's been predicted so many times it's hard to say. But much of Trump's appeal has been based on the idea that he's a winner who is leading in the polls. Here, the polls (including the entrance polls) utterly failed and Trump is 0-1 in the contests that matter. The bandwagon effect will unquestionably take a hit and Trump himself seemed a bit shell shocked in his speech to his supporters.
Still, the latest polls, for what they're worth, showed Trump with more than double the support of Cruz in New Hampshire. The short answer is Trump is still the favorite to win the nomination provided he wins New Hampshire. And assuming his second place finish holds up when all the votes are counted, he still walks away with six delegates.
Was there voter fraud? Probably, at least some. The dramatic difference between the entrance polls and the official results suggests something odd is going on, especially with mysterious increase in support for Marco Rubio, who all but tied Trump for second place. Unfortunately, this country being what it is, we may never know until it is too late.
Marco Rubio is being promoted as the great winner tonight for coming in a very close third. He was far closer to Trump than Trump was to Cruz. But Rubio has a big problem in New Hampshire because he's competing with voters with the likes of Jeb Bush and John Kaisich. If Rubio can't achieve a top three finish in New Hampshire, it's hard to see how people can take him seriously as a frontrunner. Rubio had a good night. But at some point, he actually needs to win something and he needs to get Jeb Bush out of the race. He didn't get any closer to that tonight.