The real Republican winner in Iowa wasn’t Ted Cruz or Donald Trump

Bethan McKernan@mck_beth
Tuesday 02 February 2016 12:30
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TL;DR Republican candidate Marco Rubio

While the Iowa caucuses don't really mean anything for the US election in November, there are few people who haven't been delighted to see former Republican frontrunner Donald Trump eat a slice of humble pie after being trounced by Texan senator Ted Cruz with 28 per cent of the vote and a total of eight county delegates.

Trump came in with 24 per cent, and seven delegates, and had to admit that he was a loser on the night.

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In third place, however, was Floridan senator Marco Rubio, the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed GOP poster boy, who did much better than expected.

Rubio clocked up 23 per cent of the vote and seven delegates in total, finishing just one percentage point lower than Trump.

Polls had only predicted he'd capture a 15 per cent vote share.

It is thought Rubio's Cuban roots but conservative views attract a younger and more demographically diverse crowd than the traditional party base - and in the Iowa caucus he did well in metropolitan areas and with voters with higher level educations, which should stand him in good stead for winning votes among the more moderate Republican voters in the New Hampshire primary.

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But lest we forget: Cruz was still the runaway winner in Iowa last night, especially considering Democrat candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were practically tied.

In his time, self-described "wacko-bird" Cruz has compared Obamacare to the Nazis, and he also led the widely criticised movement in the autumn of 2013 that led to a federal government shutdown.

Which means that even if Trump's momentum has slowed, there's still a lot to worry about.

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More: After Iowa, the internet has found a brilliant way to give Donald Trump a taste of his own medicine

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