Say goodbye to Jeb, John, Mike, Ben, Rand, Mike, Carly, Chris, Rick, (and Jim!)



It's now a three man race--Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Marco Rubio. Ted Cruz won in Iowa, but the key result was Marco Rubio in third place. It was expected that Rubio, the main establishment candidate in Iowa, would run a distant third, giving Jeb, Kasich, or Christie a chance to surge in New Hampshire.

But Marco Rubio's very strong showing (he almost beat Donald Trump for second place) means that he is now the default establishment candidate. Any hopes Jeb, Kasich, or Christie have of surging in New Hampshire are lost as establishment voters will flock to Rubio's banners in an effort to defeat Donald Trump in New Hampshire. Right now Rubio, Cruz, Bush, and Kasich are basically tied for second place at around 10% with Donald way ahead in the 30's; but expect Trumps terrible almost-third place showing in Iowa to cause him to take a big hit while Rubio surges.

Expect Ted Cruz to be more of an observer as Trump and Rubio go head to head in New Hampshire; Trump knows Rubio is his main competition there and Trump will direct all his fire on Rubio.

Mike Huckabee has already suspended his campaign. Ben Carson is unexpectedly flying home to Florida to "pick up some spare clothing". Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, and Jim Gilmore have been discredited. After New Hampshire you will see Rand Paul, John Kasich, and Chris Christie drop out, and probably Jeb Bush as well.

Although Ted Cruz won in New Hampshire, he knows it isn't friendly terrority for him. The interesting thing to see is whether Rubio can beat Donald Trump in New Hampshire. Now that we know that polls overestimate support for Trump, if the establishment vote joins with Rubio, Rubio might possibly beat Trump there, and if Trump loses a second time, he's in big trouble.

As for Ted Cruz, he will have to make an effort to fight in New Hampshire but it will really be an effort to get a strong second or third place finish. His main effort is and should be on South Carolina, where he needs another win. In a three way race it will no longer be enough for a candidate to get 30% of the vote, as Trump has been polling.

Remember when people said that polling didn't count Trump's total base of support? Well, now we know that polling overstates it. The race is wide open.

(Abridged version originally published in AT)



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