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February 02, 2016



Tomi, you must have written this days in advance. First, the polls were notoriously inaccurate on both sides and have been so for years now. In a caucus state it is mostly about the ground game, which Trump did not have. Now, to be fair, it does seem that the late deciders went to Rubio, and no doubt HE was helped by not having Trump on stage. But as you yourself noted, Cruz is an excellent debater and might have "beaten" Trump last Thursday. So perhaps if Trump shows up, Cruz wins in a landslide and Rubio is a distant third instead of a very close third with 23% of the vote, which no poll had him at.

As for Reagan, he got the nomination, right? How many GOP presidents won the Iowa Caucuses? 1. GW Bush. He's the only one to even get the nomination. But third is a good showing for Rubio and it puts a LOT of pressure on Bush, Kasich, etc to drop out. Cruz and Trump can continue to fight each other. If Trump tries to attack Rubio, the latter can triangulate.


The bigger question is whether Rubio has the chops to remove the real cancer from this race (Hillary Clinton). She represents the worst of this country. She is not just evil, she's insidious.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Catriona

Of course I wrote parts of this well in advance as I often do. Now on the polls. The polls were CONSISTENT through the weeks up to the debate, 9 polls in a row had Trump ahead of Cruz. All 9 polls had Trump OVER 30%. Trump averaged 33% before the debate. All 9 polls had Cruz in second place ! The average of Cruz polling just before the debate was 26%. Cruz finished Iowa with 28%. That 2% gain is in line with what is the history of Iowa, a last-minute gain to the religious candidate. But Cruz came close to the polled result.

Trump COLLAPSED. He was never below 30% and averaged 33% with a peak as high as 39%. The TURNOUT model was the main driver of whether Trump was doing something closer to 30% or closer to 39%, the higher the turnout the bigger Trump's advantage over Cruz. This day was a record turnout for Republicans. Trump should have EXCEEDED his RCP average. Or if you want to say, Cruz stole from Trump, then WORST CASE, Trump should have lost those two points that Cruz gained, so Trump should have been at 31% in the worst case.

Trump's actual result collapsed to 24%. He lost NINE POINTS (seven of which did not go to Cruz, so were not caused by a Christian evangelical surge). Trump lost nine points in four days, that is a collapse. It is not because Iowa is a pacifist state that hates wounded war veterans and punishes people who set up charity events for veterans. Nothing else 'happened' to Trump in the last 4 days. He boycotted the debate, and Trump arranged his little veterans telethon. But Trump's STEADY support suddenly collapsed, collapsed by 9 points - this CLEARLY was due to the revenge by Iowa voters about Trump's debate stunt.

So is this a wild Tomi-Ahonen-fantasy-scenario? Wolf Blitzer on CNN is talking about how the debate boycott hurt Trump, Laura Ingraham on Fox is talking about it, Rachel Maddow on MSNBC is talking about it. The Des Moines Register 'gold standard' polling lady WARNED about this happening and the 'most accurate forecaster' in politics, Nate Silver of 538 blog is saying it. So, Catriona is correct and all those experts are wrong? Or once again, Tomi did see the reality of what is ACTUALLY happening, and warned about it before we could measure the result, and now can also measure the result. So there you go. I win :-)

Tomi Ahonen :-)


You can convince yourself of that, Tomi. But you're still wrong. Trump did not lose that support any more than Hillary lost a 4-point lead she had today. You lose. Sorry. You said Trump would win today. Don't weasel out by looking to delegate counts. I say this as a friend. Stop deluding yourself. It's OK to be wrong sometimes. Trump's showing happens regardless of whether he showed up at the debate. The biggest question was whether his support was real. Maybe it wasn't. Wolf Blitzer, Laura Ingraham and Rachel Maddow are giant blowhards who are looking to rationalize polls that got things wrong. Those same polls still predicted that Trump would win, and NONE had Rubio at 23%. Even the ones taken yesterday. So clearly the results weren't accurate. And none had the Democratic race within a percentage point. How about the narrative that the polls that predicted an easy Clinton victory were wrong. For that matter, the ENTRANCE polls had Trump and Clinton winning easily. So obviously the polls were inaccurate.


Here's also what Nate Silver said BEFORE the caucuses. Iowa is difficult to poll.


"So imagine that we have a forecast showing Trump 4 percentage points ahead of Ted Cruz in some state. If Trump wins by 12 points instead, or Cruz wins by 4, the pollsters would be pilloried, and we’d come in for our share of flak too. But that’s what an 8-point error looks like"

And guess what happened. Sorry, Tomi, there was no 9 point collapse. Perhaps the polls just overestimated Trump's support and underestimated Rubio's support.

Tomi T Ahonen


The issue is now SETTLED. CNN just showed the exit poll data. Those Republican caucus goers who decided in last days after debate - selected Trump at 14%. His support COLLAPSED. He was at 33% before debate, it was 14% after debate. This is now FACT. Exit polls. You can accept data or not, I deal with the facts.

Why are you so obsessed with trying to deny reality? In the first reporting out, Fox has said the debate boycott was part of Trump's loss, CNN has said so, CNBC has said so, BBC news has said so, Politico says so, Slate says so, NY Times says so, Bloomberg says so, Washington Post says so, Huffington Post says so, Boston Herald say so, Nate Silver says so - the best statistician in the political game ie kind of the Tomi Ahonen of politics haha comparing to us in mobile (and the Des Moines Herald polling lady warned this would happen so I can be pretty sure DMH will be saying so when they write their story about how this race was won and lost).

PS on my prediction that Trump wins the nomination - READ THE BLOG - I said CLEARLY it is a prediction on DELEGATE COUNT, and I EXPLICITLY said it is not a forecast of states to win, but I was giving that too, since I had done the work, just for the fun of it. My prediction that Trump clinches on July 7 - is SOLID as of this result. I only lost 3 delegates from my forecast and as I already told you, Catriona, I can afford to lose 3 delegates every single day they vote, and still get to my forecast. I had not expected Trump to blow out in Iowa haha... In terms of DELEGATE COUNT which is what matters, not how many states are won - that is what my FORECAST was about.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


We have two ties in Iowa: Hillary vs Bernie and Donald vs Marco

The betting "polls" have gone berserk, Marco now second place and Bernie getting close to Donald :
(paddypower, sportsbet, williamhill, oddsshark was not updated)
Hillary: 10/11, 1.91, 4/5
Marco: 10/3, 4.33, 9/4
Donald: 5/1, 6.00, 5/1
Bernie: 8/1, 9.00, 6/1


Tomi how did Sanders fight Clinton to a draw? Shouldn't Clinton have done much better?


The betting sites all think Marco will get the Republican nomination.

Interesting development. Tomi, did you miss something or do you think they are simply wrong?


"If all Republican rivals join together and attack Trump, he folds, and his 35% is divided essentially ‘proportionately’ to all remaining rivals. Trump would be out fast if this happened."

My thoughts about the rise of Marco in the betting "polls". The prisoner's dilemma is based on the assumption that there is no dealing between the participants. Maybe, Iowa is the push that gets the Republicans (minus Ted) to assemble behind Marco.

I guess there are frantic negotiations and strongarming going on behind the scenes.


Tomi you are suppose to be objective, stop being such a non-Trump believer. Even though he got second spot I think he did a fantastic job in Iowa. As he got more voters than Rick santorum did in 2012 which should be impossible for a canditate like Trump.

Also Ted Cruz winning Iowa might turn out to be good for Trump. As the party elite wanted Trump to win Iowa to knock out Ted Cruz early than later in the race knock out Trump with a massive negative ads(100-200 million $ range). This plan has now failed.

Even though Marco Rubio did good, Ted cruz won Iowa which make him strong in South carolina. Now I think Marco Rubio must win New hampshire otherwise he won't win South carolina and if this happen he is dead. Maybe I'm wrong as the betting sites is very favorable to Marco rubio :)


"As the party elite wanted Trump to win Iowa to knock out Ted Cruz early than later in the race knock out Trump with a massive negative ads(100-200 million $ range). "

The next-funniest thing about this race, after the on-stage bickering, is the conspiracy theories about Byzantine behind-the-stage plots with Trump as the defender of The Little Guy.

Guys, this is simple. A dozen big ego's financed by even bigger ego billionaires trying to get on top of the rock.

Read Frans de Waal's "Chimpanzee Politics" and you know everything you need to know. There is absolutely no need for any hidden conspiracy.

Stephen Reed

Sad day for Trump partisans. I agree with Tomi's analysis that the debate gambit failed for Donald Trump. I put too much faith in the predictive value of the most recent Iowa polls.

Lets see how accurate are the polls for New Hampshire.

Tomi T Ahonen

To all in the thread

I added a paragraph into the article after CNN posted the entrance polls. Its clear to see there was a collapse of Trump support. He had 30% before the debate stunt and 14% after it. He lost more than half of his support. That support had to go somewhere. It was DISTRIBUTED where almost all rivals except Cruz and Santorum GAINED. That weird pattern also supports the theory that it was not one candidate suddenly surging (else all others would be flat one jumping, ie Rubio. Nor that it was a debate win/loss where one stole voters from another - we see that too in Rubio rising and Cruz falling - but the big change where most voters went was the collapse of Trump. There WAS strong support for Trump to win it, and a race clearly between Trump and Cruz looking at the time before the debate. If Trump had held his support gosh, even if he saw NORMAL changes to the support towards the last days - he would have easily won the race. Instead he tanked. He collapsed. The pattern is very clear. And we know there were only two things that Trump did which could have caused this, either Iowans hated that he skipped the debate - so nuc that more than HALF of his support ran away - or else it must have been that Iowans hate war veterans and punished Trump for raising money for veterans. Yeah. Nothing else happened in Trumpland in the last days to allow for this collapse. This was not good debate performance by Rubio, otherwise the GAINS to Rubio would be bigger and Trump's loss far smaller than what Rubio was able to steal (Rubio went up 11 points, Trump went down 16 points - this Trump damage cannot mathematically be caused by Rubio gains), and Trump's decline would be half of what he lost, and Trump would have won Iowa still easily.

So if we try a quick allocation of the votes, Trump & Cruz lost while all others except Santorum gained. Cruz voters are aligned more with Huckabee. Huckabee gained two, give one of Cruz's 5 lost voters to Huckabee. Then give the remaining 4 to Rubio based on the debate result. That accounts for 4 out of 11 points Rubio gained.

Now Trump's 16 points. Give 7 to Rubio and that leaves 9 points. Who got the rest? Two of the moderates, Christie and Kasich gained 2 points (makes sense especially as Christie is the 'kinder-gentler' Trump). Then Bush, Carson, Fiorina, Huckabee and Paul each got one point. Thats your 16 points of Trump votes redistributed. Makes sense. Nothing else supports this. Christie and Kasich did not have great ground games in Iowa, why were they gaining much more than Huckabee or Paul in the last days? Its because they were Trump supporters seeking a new home.

There are many reasons why polls are not accurate as well as many reasons why voters make up their minds one way or another at the end. The polls did VERY well capture the BIG CHANGE that happened four days before the election. The Des Moines Register and Quinnipiac polls that covered partly the time after the debate showed a shift. And the two polls that were conducted only on the days after the debate, showed the tight race correctly between who was fighting whom. Using the Real Clear Polling average in this kind of watershed moment is not accurate enough and as you've seen me do with the debate 'results' I take the snapshot of the polling as the RCP average before the debate, and then take the first about 3 polls that come out after the debate, to see who won. That is again the best method. Not perfect, but best. And it tells us clearly. Before the debate (and Trump's boycott) the order of finish was: Trump 33%, Cruz 26%, Rubio 14%. The two polls that came after the debate (and boycott) when averaged, had the race as: Trump 23.5%, Cruz 22.5%, Rubio 19.5%. Those two last polls reflected the reality of the race FAR more closely than any polls that measured the race from before the debate and boycott. The reality ended up being Cruz 27.6%, Trump 24.3% and Rubio 23.1%. The average error looking at RCP from before the debate was 6.3 points. The average error if only looking at the two polls from totally after the debate was 3.3 points. If you want to argue that polls are not precise, fine. They DID capture the collapse in Trump's support rather well but not perfectly. Such a big shock to voters who had thought they really liked a candidate would be a nasty measurement problem, as some voters no doubt struggled with that decision up to the minute they voted, actually inside the voting booth.

But the Entrance Polls do show clearly what happened. And as I indicated on this blog as it was happening, the polling out after the debate including the two polls with partial interviews after the debate, AND the Reuters daily tracking national poll - showed a collapse in Trump support. And the last two polls that were published on Sunday suggested for the first time that Trump might actually lose his now-razor-thin one-point lead, due to Cruz's stronger ground game and Big Data operation(s). As also happened.

NOTE - this will NOT be a factor into the coming votes, because now all polls already capture any 'punishment' behavior and Trump will be skipping no more debates, so he will fix some of the damage by attending now the next debate, as he was so quick to announce already on Saturday, when Trump's own polling told him how catastrophic that gambit was turning out to hae been.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Ok and we heard it from the horse's mouth.

Trump has now said yes, he thinks skipping the debate 'might have cost' him Iowa. He knows how he lost. And this must really REALLY sting. Imagine the Republican party euphoria if their new Messiah had arrived where such a non-Christian candidate as Trump had just beaten Cruz, who was far ahead in all polls to also win NH, SC and Nevada and Trump was on all TV screens now bragging about how he never loses and how brilliant he was...

Anyway, for someone who was arguing this point before - its like those who were trying to defend Elop's mad Microsoft strategy for Nokia, or those who thought Blackberry's tablet gambit was smart etc... there are some who cannot see reality even when it stares them straight in the face. We deal with the facts on this blog.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi all

Note, that BEYOND the Iowa vote, this will also impact Trump going forward. He lost his growth-momentum. He lost some voter support. We have the Reuters daily polling tracker with its 5-day polling average. If we look at the time just before the debate boycott (ie up to 26 Jan) and the two polls fully 5 days after the debate boycott stunt (polls averaging days of 28 Jan and after) we can see how Reuters polling scored the NATIONAL effect of the stunt.

Trump support was steady on the two days leading to the stunt, at 41% (using the likely voters filter). It has now been nearly flat also the two days fully after it, at 31% and 30%. So if we average those last two, we can day Trump NATIONALLY went from 41% to 30.5% so he lost one in four supporters nationwide (while losing more than half, or precisely 54% of his support in Iowa, based on the Entrance Polls of Iowa voters). This means Trump's steamrolling campaign that had just reached (according to Reuters) the 'ceiling' level of 40% has now fallen back to the 30% level, nationally. This should now be visible in national polls going forward - note this is SEPARATE from the damaging impacts of losing in Iowa (and corresponding bumps that Cruz & Rubio should see coming out of Iowa). With all that, Trump is STILL the leader. Only with a far smaller lead.

Ok, next going back to hitting the 'update' button on RCP polling average haha...

Tomi Ahonen :-)


When talking about the conspiracy comedians

"Users of website 8Chan began a conversation thread on its less-than-politically-correct message board /pol/ ranting about the connection between Rubio and Microsoft, which has donated millions of dollars to the senator's campaign. The fact that Microsoft is volunteering its services for free in the form of a vote-counting app was enough to send theorists over the edge."

The trolls did it again, getting the Tea Party crowd in arms on Yet Another Conspiracy Theory that takes what is rightfully theirs. Lullz all around.

Wayne Borean

Well, that was interesting.

1) I wasn't sure whether skipping the debate would hurt him as badly as Tomi estimated. Turns out Tomi was right. I'm not sure how this will play out going forward. We hear talk of momentum, but personally I think that a lot of this is a black art.

2) Bernie did really well. Which will get him marginally more press coverage...

3) Ted Cruz won by accident. Of course I don't expect Toxic Teddy to understand that.

4) Marco Rubio comes out of it looking really good.

I've got to cut down on the popcorn! The expense is killing me.


Trump is losing it:
"Donald Trump accuses Ted Cruz of stealing Iowa in lengthy Twitter tirade"

"Donald Trump: 'Ted Cruz didn't win Iowa, he stole it' - outspoken Republican hopeful hits out at rival"

I am afraid this could be the beginning of the end for Trump. Nothing breeds contempt like a sore loser.
(actually, I can think of a lot of things that are more likely to breed contempt, anyhow)

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    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Helsinki but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

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