How Cruz Won Iowa Suggests Troubles Ahead

“Ted Cruz kept his hopes alive with a come-from-behind victory in the Iowa caucuses this week. But the way he won raises serious questions about his chances later on,” the New York Times reports.

“He won Iowa for one reason: He excelled among people who described themselves as “very conservative.” They voted for him by a big margin; he won 44 percent of them to Donald Trump’s 21 percent, according to exit polls. He lost every other ideological category, and often by a lot. The national Republican primary electorate is far more moderate than Iowa’s, so Mr. Cruz will need to attract a far broader coalition.”

Republicans Have Spent Little on Polling

MSNBC: “In the three months leading up to the Iowa caucus, many Republicans spent little to nothing on polling. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush each spent just over $150,000 on campaign polls, while the two non-politicians in the race, Ben Carson and Donald Trump, declined to buy any polling research at all. The data is from the campaigns’ spending summaries for the final quarter of 2015, which are released under federal election law.”

“Ted Cruz was the only Republican who spent much on polls – over $380,000 – and his campaign threw another $3 million into separate data for ‘donor modeling.'”

Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire

A new Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll in New Hampshire shows Donald Trump leading the GOP primary field with 29%, followed by Marco Rubio at 19%, John Kasich at 13%, Jeb Bush at 10%, Ted Cruz at 7%, Chris Christie at 5% and Ben Carson at 4%.

Said pollster David Paleologos: “What a difference a caucus makes. By exceeding expectations in Iowa, Marco Rubio is converting likability to electability even more so than Ted Cruz, who, like many conservative Iowa winners of the past like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, can’t seem to convert an Iowa win into a major showing in New Hampshire.”

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton, 50% to 41%.

Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) credited Ted Cruz for running an “old-fashioned”, 99-county campaign in Iowa, but also ripped Cruz for using “questionable” campaign tactics, Radio Iowa reports.

Said Branstad: “This thing that they distributed on Caucus night saying that Dr. Carson was likely to drop out and his supporters should support Cruz, that is, I think, unethical and unfair. I think there’ll be repercussions to that.”

Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), a former U.S trade ambassador, announced that he “opposes a sweeping 12-nation Pacific Rim trade agreement, dealing a setback to a deal that is seen as a key part of President Obama’s economic legacy,” the Washington Post reports.

“The Ohio Republican is facing a difficult re-election campaign against Ted Strickland, an anti-trade former Democratic governor, in a state that has seen a steep decline in manufacturing as a result of companies moving operations overseas. The announcement is a significant but not fatal blow to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, which is protected by fast-track rules that ensure it cannot be filibustered in the Senate.”

Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal

“Megyn Kelly, the Fox News host who made national headlines for tangles with Donald Trump during a Republican presidential debate in August, has signed a book deal with HarperCollins,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“HarperCollins did not disclose details about the book’s subject matter. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed either. A rep for CAA, who negotiated the deal on behalf of Kelly, says reports of a $10 million advance were inaccurate.”

Still Friends at the End

First Read highlights how last night’s contentious Democratic debate ended on a positive note when both candidates were asked if they would choose each other as their running mate.

Clinton’s answer: “If I’m so fortunate as to be the nominee, the first person I would call to talk to about where we would go and how we’d get it done would be Senator Sanders.”

Sanders replied: “I agree with what the Secretary said, we shouldn’t be getting ahead of ourselves. And as I have said many times, you know, sometimes in these campaigns things get a little bit out of hand. I happen to respect the secretary very much, I hope it’s mutual. And on our worst days, I think it is fair to say we are 100 times better than any Republican candidate.”

Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips

A new Quinnipiac poll finds Donald Trump still leads the GOP presidential pack nationally with 31%, followed by Ted Cruz at 22%, Marco Rubio at 19% and Ben Carson at 9%. No other candidate above 3 percent.

In the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton barely leads Bernie Sanders, 44% to 42%.

Said pollster Tim Malloy: “Democrats nationwide are feeling the Bern as Sen. Bernie Sanders closes a 31-point gap to tie Secretary Hillary Clinton. And despite the Iowa setback, Donald Trump is way ahead of his GOP opponents.”

Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend

New York Times: “In an election year fueled by the anger over the growing gap between rich and poor, Mrs. Clinton, who is widely viewed as too close to the financial sector, seems an imperfect messenger for change. She has developed sophisticated policy proposals that many economists agree would aggressively regulate the financial sector, but they have collided with the image that Sanders supporters and other political rivals have painted of her: Wall Street’s friend and defender.”