Trump Wins Iowa Caucuses; DeSantis Takes Second; Ramaswamy Drops Out

Recapping the Iowa caucuses, with a look ahead to New Hampshire.

Trump Wins Easily, as Expected

As he eyes a third consecutive GOP nomination and a return to the White House, Donald Trump had little trouble winning the first contest of the 2024 presidential election

As of this morning, Trump has 51% of the caucus vote and has won at least 98 of the state's 99 counties. Nikki Haley appears to have won Johnson County by a single vote.

Trump's margin of victory was the largest (by far) for a Republican candidate in a contested Iowa caucus.

An Early Call for Trump

Trump was declared the winner by The Associated Press (AP), Decision Desk (who provides results for 270toWin) and other media outlets within an hour of the start of the caucuses. This was well before most of the votes were cast. We noticed a lot of concern about this on social media. The DeSantis campaign was particularly unhappy.

Here's some background from AP about why the race was called when it was, and how caucus events differ from traditional primaries, where no race call is made before all the polls are closed.

DeSantis Finishes Ahead of Haley

Polling for the caucuses was highly accurate. That was a bit surprising, given that turnout was much lower than expected. Trump, Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy all finished within 2% of the 270toWin Iowa average.

Ron DeSantis was the exception, exceeding polling expectations by about 5%. That afforded him a second place finish, about 2% above Haley. It somewhat changes the narrative heading into next week's New Hampshire primary.

Ramaswamy Drops Out; Endorses Trump

The entrepreneur, a political novice, ran an aggressive campaign that attempted to follow in the MAGA footsteps of Trump. That approach may have been more successful if Trump wasn't in the race. 

Ramaswamy finished fourth, with about 7% of the vote. Speaking to his supporters Monday night, he said that Trump has his full endorsement

The First Delegates are Allocated

It will take 1,215 delegates to win the Republican nomination. Iowa's 40 delegates are allocated proportionately to the statewide vote.

Subject to certain GOP guidelines, each state sets its own rules for delegate allocation. Generally speaking, contests before March 15 have some sort of proportional allocation. Winner take all, for a first place finisher who gets a plurality of the vote is allowed after that date, and is used by some states.

Click a state on the map at the Republican Nomination home page to see contest date, delegate information, and any available polling.

Up Next: New Hampshire

The Granite State will hold its traditional 'first in the nation' primary next Tuesday, January 23. There are 22 delegates available. Allocation is proportional to the statewide vote, subject to a 10% minimum. 

As of this writing, the primary looks more competitive than what we saw in Iowa. Trump is averaging 42% and Haley 31% in polling.

DeSantis is running a distant third at just 6%. The Florida governor had bet heavily on Iowa, at the expense of spending time in New Hampshire. 

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