Iowa caucuses: What Trump’s dominant win means for his rivals

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  • Source: BBC
  • 02/22/2024
It was perhaps the least surprising victory in the history of the Iowa caucuses.

Donald Trump won by a landslide in the first contest in the Republican race for a presidential nominee, the margin in the end as comfortable as the polls had predicted for months.

But dominating the vote count was just one reason why the former president was celebrating on Monday night after his supporters braved extreme cold weather to deliver him the win.

Neither of Mr Trump's main rivals, Nikki Haley nor Ron DeSantis, emerged as a lead challenger - so the not-Trump vote remains divided. Meanwhile, his most ideologically similar rival, Vivek Ramaswamy, announced he was dropping out - and will endorse Mr Trump in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

Here is a closer look at why the results in Iowa were so significant in the race for the White House.

This is still Donald Trump's party

Mr Trump's victory in Iowa was historically massive. He won the most votes in all but one of Iowa's 99 counties (he lost the other by a single vote).

No one had prevailed in an Iowa contest by more than 12 points before - Mr Trump's margin will approach 30% and he could end up winning an outright majority of the Republicans who turned out.

With almost all the votes counted, Mr Trump had won 51%, with Mr DeSantis on 21% and Ms Haley on 19%.

A survey of Iowans entering caucus sites on Monday night helps explain exactly why his bid for an electoral encore has been successful so far.

About half of Republican caucus-goers consider themselves part of Trump's "Make America Great Again" movement, according to CBS News, the BBC's US partner.

Mr Trump's victory was a broad one as well. He won the young and old, men and women. He also won over the evangelical and hard-right conservative voters he had difficulty winning in 2016.

Typically, defeated presidential candidates fade from memory, never able to shake the taint of the loss. Mr Trump, however, has managed to convince Republicans - here in Iowa and nationally - that he didn't lose.

A large majority of caucus-goers in Iowa told CBS they believed Mr Trump was the actual winner of the 2020 presidential election - a number that increased to 90% among Trump supporters.

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