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« My Forecast on Republican Race One Day Before First State Votes: Trump Wins Nomination, Clinches on June 7, Gets 53% of Delegates, Cruz second, Rubio third | Main | The Gambler, Glass Jaw, and the Prisoner’s Dilemma - Trump loses badly on his Debate boycott gambit - Iowa results (Updated) »

February 01, 2016



"Hillary Clinton's campaign biggest expenditure is ... a DATA MINING operation. Did anyone say Obama 2012? Narwhal?"

Hillary does not have to do much data mining this early in the campaign. She will win from Bernie in her sleep. So why is she burning so many computer hours even before the primaries.

I know what Hillary is spending her computer cycles on! She is running the data mining operation for Donald Trump.

Yes! It is Hillary's campaign that help Trumpzilla to target his campaign with excruciating precision against the Republicans to capture the nomination in the most damaging way.

Trumpzilla is nothing but a Clinton fueled conspiracy to destroy the real conservatives and the GOP.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Winter

Fabulous !!! Yeah that conspiracy theory is still viable, that there is a Trump-Clinton conspiracy to kill off all viable Republican candidates. If you consider that as the goal - and now apply it also to 'Canadian Cruz' - it still holds water haha.. and yeah, Trump's campaign finances certainly had no giant data-mining operation in it (but he did spend a lot on hats)

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Dave Barnes

What about Jim Gilmore? Lurking in the shadows. Just waiting for the others to ex/implode.

Wayne Borean

LOL. Good one Winter!

As to Tomi's article, well, I disagree on some points.

Hillary Clinton - I don't think she is as strong as your evaluation says. Oh, compared to Cruz or Trump she's a great candidate in any normal year, but this year doesn't seem to be normal. Also Sanders is far stronger than he appeared to be when he announced. Personally I still think she will win, but I expect Sanders to be in the fight a lot longer.

Donald Trump - I think that everyone is still underestimating Trump. He may be an utter bastard, but the man is smart. He wouldn't be in this if he didn't think he had a decent chance of pulling off the biggest deal in his life. That we have no idea how he could do this doesn't matter, what matters is he has his path planned out. Don't underestimate Trump, if he has the situation properly worked out he could beat Hillary. I have no idea how he would do this, I just know that planning of that sort is necessary to pull off big deals.

Ted Cruz - I'd love to see Ted Cruz as the Republican candidate. Toxic Teddy would destroy the Tea Party, and probably destroy the Religious Right both at the same time. I know people involved in both. Nice people, but both types tend to suffer from congenitive dissonance, and misunderstand how their attitudes play out in society now. But this time round Toxic Teddy has no chance.

The others - No chance. But as long as the money lasts, why not stay in? For the younger candidates it's a great chance to pick up some experience in applying for one of the most exclusive jobs on the planet (Pope is one of the few which is more exclusive.)

This is going to be a great year for popcorn sales!

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Dave & Wayne

Dave - LOL yeah, well, he is so invisible most polls don't bother to include his name. So he's such a dark horse that if he was under glare of the brightest of Trump Tower spotlights, they would not see him..

Wayne - thanks. Now on Hillary ratings, do you score Bernie AHEAD of Hillary on any of those points? So if not, then isn't her "all A's" grading fair? Remember we are grading two separate classes, one Republican class and one Democratic class, not across.

On Trump yeah, I think your comments have contributed to my mind being corrupted about him haha... Utter bastard yes but smart yes and has a plan? most definitely yes. Is it still a secret, gosh yes. Is it conceivable he has a plan that can also defeat Hillaryin the general? He must believe so, else he would not be throwing $10M of his own money already per quarter now into his race and increasing that spending rapidly into the race as it goes on. What can it possibly be? I can't imagine. Can it really erase all the damage he has done to his chances in the general election, gosh, he HAS to believe that is the case, but I cannot imagine it to be so. Look how many generations the blacks have held a grude against the Republicans. He can't just say in September that he didn't mean it about the Hispanics or women or Muslims etc.. But the cool thing is, that we are very likely going to find out, as you know, I am now predicting that Cruz no longer has the easiest path to the nomination, and it is Trump who takes the nomination. Like you said, bring the popcorn!

Now on Trump's infallibility (I wonder if that is spelled correctly). This debate gambit is the clearest evidence we have of bad judgement and damage. Trump was leading Iowa by all recent Iowa polls by about 7 points before he pulled out of the debate and Trump was at 33%. There are now two polls out that had their interviews done only after the debate. And his polling is at 23% and both polls have his lead down to 1%.

Whether Trump wins or loses, we know here, that the fact is, that his smooth-sailing, easy-peasy dominating victory in Iowa, was put in jeopardy by a silly gamble, driven not by any sensible calculation, but by his ego. If Trump pulls a win out of Iowa, then the magnitude of his risk and near-loss will not be noticed by most - but we know here. We saw it. We calculated it. Now if Trump loses in Iowa (by one of those two polls, Rubio is only one point behind Trump so with the slightest misfortune, Trump could end THIRD in Iowa) then many will point to the sudden collapse timed with his debate boycott.

Two important observations. A smart political advisor (aka Campaign Manager) would never have allowed the candidate to do this. To risk losing a clear win - especially the first win of the season. Trump is in charge, not listening to his advisors (or they are yes-men who won't challenge him). So Trump thinks he is smarter than everybody else. Thats where truly colossal blunders are made (haha, Nokia Lumia & Windows Phone). But secondly, it tells us he is prone to take RIDICULOUS gambles and that in turn, in a long campaign, is certain to damage him many times, when those gambles don't turn out roses.

Its possible Trump has figured out the way to defeat Hillary in the general election. Its also possible, his plan is as dumb as boycotting a debate.

On Cruz's chances. He needs an Iowa upset now. If Cruz cannot win Iowa, then he really has no chance of trying what Huckabee & Santorum tried before, with a far better start winning Iowa, but a far less-funded campaign than what Cruz has so far put into play. If Cruz does win Iowa, then he is the strongest rival to take Trump on. And then any one political surprise can tumble the race - like we remember with Newt Gingrich suddenly having a debate moment that gave him the win in South Carolina. I agree, I think Trump will win it, but his strongest rival and the only other candidate with a realistic chance of getting the nomination is Ted. (Toxic Teddy - LOL)

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Wayne Borean

Well, yes.

1ST - HILLARY CLINTON - A (4.0 average)
(was 1st, A score, 4.0 average)
Polling . . . . . . . . . . . . A (A) --- B
Fund-raising . . . . . . . .A (A) --- B
Debating . . . . . . . . . . A (A) --- B
Path to nomination . . A (A) --- A
Electability . . . . . . . . . A (A) --- B
Billionaires who gave more than $1M: 4 - Haim Saban (Univision), George Soros (hedge fund manager), Jeffrey Katzenberg (hollywood), Steven Spielberg (hollywood)

2ND - BERNIE SANDERS - B- (2.8 average)
(was 2nd, B- grade, 2.6 average)
Polling . . . . . . . . . . . . B (B) --- B
Fund-raising . . . . . . . A (A) --- A
Debating . . . . . . . . . . C (C) --- B
Path to nomination . . C (C) --- B
Electability . . . . . . . . . B (C) --- B
Billionaires who gave more than $1M: (none)

That's my ratings of Hillary and Bernie. You'll notice that I left Bernie with an A on fundraising, but lowered Hillary to a B. That's because Bernie has been working on small donors, and he gets to trumpet the level of his support. Since a lot of Americans are less than impressed with the amount of corporate/rich money in politics, his principled stand should resonate with both Democratic and Republican voters.

Beyond that, I don't see that anyone deserves an A so far. Both Hillary and Bernie are running good campaigns, not great campaigns. The same is true of the Republicans except for possibly Trump. If he wins Iowa and New Hampshire as an outside, he'll have run a great campaign.


These guys have 100% track record since '75.

They don't dismiss Bernie Sanders as easily as you.


Short night. Hillary's running away with it and will probably end the night 7-10 points ahead of Sanders (as I predicted yesterday). It's a tighter race on the GOP side, which is taking longer to come in. So the coronation process is officially over for 2016. Hillary's the nominee. As far as Tomi's concerned, we can just cancel the election to save George Soros and a few of his billionaire friends some money, preferably so they can donate it to the Clinton Foundation instead.

Don't you just love how the Democrats are the party of the little guys, and aren't afraid to take on the billionaires like George Soros (convicted felon and currency manipulator).


With 6.8% in, Cruz is leading 30-28 over Trump. Not sure where that vote is coming in, but Rubio's at nearly 18%. Tomi will credit the debate no-show, although the snowstorm might be the bigger reason.


@Tomi, you are lying when you say you are neutral. You are a complete fan of the Clintons. You admire them, and nothing they say or do can convince you otherwise. You appear to want a Clinton dynasty. As far as I'm concerned, we'd be better off without the Clintons and their 1%er friends, including Chelsea's convicted felon father-in-law. You hate Trump, but Hillary is even more despicable. Hillary would be nothing if not for Bill, and her having amassed a major data mining operation should be scary.

Of course, you believe her when she says she knows nothing about tech, and laugh off her use of a private e-mail server containing classified information. It's all just a game, I guess. The system is rigged, and it's better to be one of the riggers (i.e. the Clintons) than the rigged.

What I don't get is why Democrats actually seem to like Hillary Clinton. There's nothing likable about her whatsoever. She's condescending, arrogant, treats her staff like garbage (e.g. drinking out of plastic cups while she lavishes billions onto her Silicon Valley and Wall Street friends), and has zero accomplishments as a Senator and Secretary of State. She co-sponsored NO major pieces of legislation, and spent 4 years as SOS mostly flying around promoting her future campaign.


Hillary still clinging to a small lead with 65% in, but with the goofy way the Democrats report results it's difficult to tell the actual vote totals. Anyway, Cruz has a 4% lead on Trump with about half in, but the bigger story seems to be Rubio who has over 20%. If he can hold at that level (anything high teens or above would be considered overperforming), the GOP race could take on a new dynamic. Let's see if Rubio gets some momentum in fundraising and results in New Hampshire.


What's odd is that turnout is looking to set a new record in Iowa on the GOP side. It was supposed to benefit Trump, but may be benefiting Rubio. In a vacuum, I'm not surprised Cruz is ahead. Iowa GOP caucus voters tend to be VERY evangelical. Pat Robertson came in 2nd in 1988, ahead of George H. W. Bush (who was eventually elected in a landslide).


Also, I know Tomi will claim to be right (that Trump underperformed), but he gave himself two opportunities to be "right," which also means that he's wrong that Trump is going to run the table. Cruz won where he needed to (the most evangelical electorate in the primaries), and Rubio is doing MUCH better than expected, or that even he predicted.

On to New Hampshire. It looks like we officially have a race.


Wow! I'd have never have guessed that the GOP race would be called first. Cruz it is. Rubio is less than 1.5% behind Trump! Turnout was massive on the GOP side, easily smashing the record from 2012. This is a "YUGE" result for Rubio.

Clinton's still up by 0.9% with 84% in. The bulk of the vote outstanding is from Polk (where Des Moines is), which should mean she wins by 1-2%. O'Malley is dropping out.

Tomi T Ahonen

So I got my wish.

One of the big storylines coming out of Iowa will be that Trump threw it away. That the gambit of skipping a debate was a massive blunder. So CNN has called the election for Cruz and the race is still between Rubio and Trump..

Tomi Ahonen :-)


@Tomi, that's not the narrative at all. The debate isn't what cost Trump Iowa, though it may have helped Rubio a lot. The narrative is that Cruz's traditional caucus campaign carried the day where Cruz needed it most. Evangelicals came out to caucus, as usual. But it appears that late-deciders went to Rubio, who was expected to get around 15-17% of the vote.

Also, as I pointed out, that makes your more recent prediction (that Trump would win Iowa and roll the table) incorrect. New Hampshire is up next. Polls there are notoriously unreliable, though increasingly they are unreliable everywhere. Clinton is clinging to a <1% lead and is actually losing in elected delegates (so much for her vaunted data analytics on how to prop up O'Malley delegations to maximize her delegate counts - O'Malley had no delegations to prop up).

Anyway, yes, I'm feeling a bit more confident in my Rubio prediction.


Here's the best source for caucus results.

Since the Democrats report county delegates won vs. votes, it's harder to tell the actual vote count. But interestingly, out of 44 delegates up for grabs, Bernie is leading 21-19 as I post this.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Catriona

Cruz was at 26% on the RCP average just before the polls. Cruz took 28% in Iowa. THAT is what evangelical vote turnout can do for a religious candidate. Trump however, was at 33% on the day before the debate boycott. He finished with 24%. He LOST NINE points in four days !!! This even though the turnout was UP !!! And Cruz only took 2 of those 9 points. Trump THREW AWAY the Iowa win. And yes, this is becoming the narrative. Nate Silver says so, Laura Ingraham talking about it on Fox, Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, and some woman just on CNN with Wolf Blitzer I didn't catch her name. No, Catriona, they will be looking for 'why' and this is a COLLAPSE and the pattern is VERY CLEAR. Trump led all polls up to the debate, he now lost by 9 points and CRUZ DID NOT GAIN significantly against those poll standings.

You should know me by now, I go by the numbers always wherever they take me...

PS my prediction is solid. Trump is down 3 delegates !! My prediction was not of what states Trump wins, you know perfectly well the ONLY contest in the nomination is for the DELEGATES and I made it perfectly clear, that my prediction was of the NOMINATION RACE nd whether Trump can win it by clinching a majority. I predicted 1,320 delegates and this start has me on track by only losing 3 delegates for Trump. If my forecast loses a further 3 delegates EVERY DAY they vote, of the next 19 more days of voting, my forecast STILL COMES TRUE and Trump clinches on June 7. So the prediction is still perfect. So feel happy to gloat haha, I am totally on track. I can afford to lose 3 delegates EVERY day of Republican voting and still have a margin of 24 delegates left over... Trump is by far favored to win the nomination and almost impossible for him to win before June 7.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


@Tomo, what part of "Polls aren't reliable" don't you understand? The biggest question was whether Trump's supporters would come out and caucus. It turns out they did not. And it's completely disingenuous for you to talk about delegates. Iowa and New Hampshire are meaningless as far as delegates are concerned. They are about momentum. All of a sudden those New Hampshire polls appear less credible, and if Trump underperorms again he won't get all that free media and with it his supporters and his national poll levels. Stop acting like Donald Trump. You were wrong and your own post from yesterday admits it. Trump will not run the table, and suddenly he no longer looks inevitable. If all that mattered were 3 delegates you wouldn't have posted about Trump's debate boycott or have mentioned his drop from some obvious outlier polls that you took as gospel.

Cruz didn't gain. But Rubio did. So perhaps Trump not debating benefited Rubio over Cruz. I said that myself. Unlike you I don't value the opinions of partisan hacks like Laura Ingraham or Rachel Maddow.

Trump did not "throw away" the win any more than Clinton "threw away" a 4 point lead she had in the RCP average today. Those polls were obviously wrong, as polls often are today. No amount of data analytics can make up for having bad data. You of all people should know this.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Catriona

I do not understand why you are obsessed with denying reality. But now the matter IS decided. CNN just showed the exit polls for Iowa about what happened to Trump's support after the debate. His support COLLAPSED to 14%. The facts are there, plain and clear. Before his debate boycott stunt, Trump was getting 33% support in Iowa. After that day, his support collapsed to 14% - he lost MORE THAN HALF. This is TOTALLY IN LINE with the EXACT SAME PHENOMENON with Reagan. EXACTLY the same at almost identical rate.

And there was yes, one OTHER thing that happened to Trump on that day. It was his little political theater for wounded war veterans. Its possible that when Trump collects 6 million dollars to war vets, maybe THAT was the reason suddenly Iowans stopped liking Trump and didn't vote against him. That is of course possible but a supremely silly alternative theory. Nothing else HAPPENED to the Trump campaign in the last 4 days. Nothing else newsworthy out of Iowa. Why are you denying reality?

Anyway, the matter is now closed, as CNN just gave us that number. Trump actual Iowa Republican voter preference collapsed on that day, and of all those caucus goers who decided after the day of the debate, Trump got 14%. His boycott caused his support to collapse. The facts are there.

Oh, and in the immediate two hours after the result, Fox says so, CNN says so, MSNBC says so, BBC says so, Politico says so, 538 Blog with Nate Silver says so, NY Times says so, Slate says so, Huffpo says so, Washington Post says so, Boston Herald says so, Bloomberg says so. But Catriona knows better with no evidence suggests the opposite.

No, Catriona, I warned this was a mistake. I was correct, it was a mistake. Exactly like say Elop at Nokia with Windows Phone or how Blackberry launched its tablet, etc. Its what I do on this blog. I look for signals and I report it when I see it. For this, there is historical precedent of it. So now, we have it measured. Exit polls, very clear. Case closed. I was once again accurate in my initial gut reaction and thus, for our readers, this blog wins. We provided valuable insight into strategic thinking (and strategic blunders)

Why don't you go sleep on it, and lets return to this later. But this matter is now closed, the numbers came out. 14%. That is a COLLAPSE from 33%. COLLAPSE.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

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