The White House race has been thrown wide open after frontrunners from both parties suffered setbacks in the first contest in Iowa. Candidates of all stripes have packed up and are now heading to New Hampshire.
The months-long presidential contest kicked into high gear Wednesday, with Democratic and Republican debates this week building up to next week’s primary in New Hampshire.
Flamboyant billionaire Donald Trump suffered a humbling defeat – polling more than 3 points behind Texan Senator Ted Cruz’s 27.7 percent in the Iowa caucus. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida is still in the race, polling 23 percent.
Among Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – long the presumed nominee – managed to win by a whisker after polling less than three tenths of a percent over Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
“I’m going to have some work to do to reach out to young voters — maybe first-time voters who have to make a tough decision as they evaluate who should be our president, our commander-in-chief. I intend to do that,” Clinton told CNN after the results.
Sanders not conceding Iowa – yet
Sanders’ campaign has not conceded defeat, considering it a tie, but his campaign manager told CNN he wants a detailed breakdown of results before they officially concede.
“We’re in this for the long haul,” Sanders told reporters as he arrived in New Hampshire where polls put him as a strong favorite.
The once-unthinkably-small margin between the former first lady over a self-declared “democratic socialist” is being seen as an indication the Democratic Party is conflicted between the party establishment and leftist voters.
That’s largely because of concerns among many Americans about the widening wealth gap and economic insecurity have helped Sanders’ message resonate among many people, especially younger first-time voters.
Republican Party remains an open field
Meanwhile on the Republican side, Trump is looking to rebound after his humbling blow in Iowa. He has so far been leading the polls in New Hampshire.
But Cruz’s strong polling shows the senator remains strong with Christian voters, even if he struggles with many traditional forces in his own party. Rubio – a strong third – remains at top of the stack of establishment candidates vying to be the party’s preferred alternative to Trump or Cruz.
Trump took to Twitter to release a defiant message attempting to rationalize his poor showing.
Polls show well over half of Republican voters are undecided in New Hampshire.