Every four years, all eyes turn to Iowa as Americans prepare for the presidential election. The one thing political-minded folks are looking at? The latest polling numbers from J. Ann Selzer, director of the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics Polls. On the premiere of “Bloomberg – Masters in Politics” podcast, Selzer gave hosts Tammy Haddad and Betsy Fischer Martin the scoop on who has the inside advantage: Trump or Cruz?
For nearly thirty years, Selzer has shown herself to be one of the top pollsters in the business. She accurately forecasted the 2008 Iowa Caucus would go to Barack Obama, a controversial call at the time. It riled the Hillary Clinton campaign, putting Selzer in an awkward position. A similar position she now finds herself in when Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump doesn’t like hearing her polling says GOP rival Senator Ted Cruz is gaining ground.
“Trump has the higher proportion of his supporters who say they cannot be moved. They are on Trump. They’re not going to look at another,” says Selzer.
“Cruz has a higher proportion of people who say they will definitely show up on caucus night…But so, which of those is the better advantage? And my answer is that, you know, like, Powerball, you can’t win if you don’t play. And for Donald Trump, you can’t win if your people don’t show up.”
Hillary Clinton is back for her second Iowa Caucus as a potential Democratic Presidential candidate. Selzer says her findings show Clinton “does well with women. She does really well with older women, and that’s the reason why she’s leading with women, because she is not leading with younger women.”
In fact, Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders is doing better among Millennial women. “Sanders’ pull with youngest caucus goers, that overpowers Clinton’s pull with women,” says Selzer. “There’s just a stronger spark to Bernie Sanders and what it is that he’s talking about that really speaks to their values.”
Speaking of values, Selzer’s team wanted to try to understand what voters are looking for in their candidates. They found that 52 percent of Republicans believe “this election is more about leadership” than about specific issues and policies a candidate says they would enact if elected president.
“That is, they want somebody strong. They want somebody who’s going to, you know, borrow a phrase, ‘Make America great again,’ which the rhetorical beauty of that of those four words is that it defines a problem, which is America isn’t great, and offers the solution, saying, “I’m the one who can make it great again,” says Selzer.
The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll will release its latest numbers on Saturday, January 30th, at Bloomberg election headquarters in Des Moines. The Iowa Caucus will be held on Monday, February 1.