Tonight’s the night Iowa residents cast ballots for the presidential candidates of their choice. According to the weekend’s Bloomberg/Des Moines Register poll, Donald Trump led on the Republican side at 28 percent, with Sen. Ted Cruz in second place at 23 percent, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio at 15 percent and Dr. Ben Carson at 10 percent.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton led Sen. Bernie Sanders 45 percent to 42 percent.
Trump also leads a new Quinnipiac poll with 31 percent over Sen. Cruz’s 24 percent. But Sen. Sanders moved ahead of Clinton. Will those leads hold, and will first-time caucusgoers make a difference? From the Hill:
Trump’s rise in the Quinnipiac poll is boosted by first-time Iowa voters: 40 percent say they will support him, compared with 22 percent for Cruz.
First-time Democratic caucusgoers also boosted Bernie Sanders in Iowa, pollsters found, with the Vermont senator holding a 3-point lead over Hillary Clinton, 49 to 46 percent.
Among first-time voters, Sanders holds a major lead over Clinton, 62 to 35 percent, while Clinton holds a 9-point lead among those who have caucused before.
The Quinnipiac poll’s assistant director Peter A. Brown pointed out another important aspect of tonight’s caucuses.
“The size of the turnout tonight will likely be the key factor, especially on the Democratic side. High turnouts with lots of new caucus participants likely would mean a good night for Sen. Bernie Sanders, and for Donald Trump.”