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How important is Iowa?

On the Outcome of the First Primaries for the U.S. Presidential Election.

Donald Trump wins the Republican primaries in Iowa by a large margin. This consolidates his role as the favorite for the presidential nomination. However, Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley remain in the race.

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Shortly before three o'clock in the morning, the online page of the Bild newspaper ran the headline: "Trump wins!" Earlier, CNN and Fox News had declared the ex-president the clear winner of the Iowa primary. At this point, not even five percent of the votes had been counted. The two TV stations referred to their own forecasts instead. However, it was unclear who would finish in second place after the first breaking news: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina, were virtually tied in the projections early Tuesday morning German time. Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, on the other hand, was not considered to have any chance of coming second. A few hours later, Ramaswamy threw in the towel and it became apparent that DeSantis had received a good 2,000 votes more than Haley. 

None of this came as a surprise: according to the poll results collected by FiveThirtyEight since May last year[1], Donald Trump has consistently been far ahead of his internal party rivals. In the last polls before the vote, the Republican averaged 52.7 percent. Ron DeSantis was the undisputed runner-up until August last year. Since then, however, Nikki Haley has been able to catch up significantly. Most recently, she was even just under two percent ahead of DeSantis in the polls with 18.7 percent. A neck-and-neck race for second place had therefore been brewing for weeks. Since May last year, the poll results for Vivek Ramaswamy have practically never gone beyond single figures.

The most important question in the coming days and weeks is whether Nikki Haley will be Donald Trump's top rival or whether Ron DeSantis can position himself as the main opponent. And what do the primaries in Iowa actually mean for the chances of a presidential candidacy?


The full-length publication is only available in German.

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Dr. Hardy Ostry


Head of the Washington, D.C. office


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