Trump Victory in Iowa Points to ‘Lock on Nomination,’ Experts Say

In a show of strength in the first contest of the 2024 nomination race, former U.S. president Donald Trump on Monday more than doubled the tally of his closest Republican rival in the Iowa caucuses, a feat William Howell, a University of Chicago professor of American politics termed “a complete blowout” that “points towards a lock on the nomination”.

Howell said the results represent a particular disappointment for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who, he said, “bet his campaign on a strong showing in Iowa.”

““There’s not a thick plotline hear to unearth,” Howell told Reuters. “And I think in many ways to find one, by focusing on the weather, who might come out second, belies the big headline which is Trump has a lock on, all signs point towards Trump having a lock on the nomination, certainly winning in Iowa, but boy, he’s got a heck of a hold on this party.”

Trump is the first former or current president to face criminal indictment, but Howell said Trump’s legal troubles – rather than hurting his campaign – have made it difficult for his rivals to command enough attention to get their messages across to U.S. voters.

“All of these indictments have just left little breathing room for opponents to articulate a clear case why they ought to claim the nomination, and with every indictment, and every court case brought forward they feel this need to reaffirm and articulate Trump’s talking points,” Howell said.

Trump garnered 51%, DeSantis 21% and Haley 19%, with 99% of the expected vote tallied, according to Edison Research.

Trump’s win on Monday night in Iowa was broad-based, with the former president taking all but one of the state’s 99 counties, including in the suburbs outside Des Moines.

Now he heads to New Hampshire where he will face a more diverse electorate, with fewer evangelical Christians and a larger proportion of independents. Trump is still the frontrunner in the Northeastern state’s Jan. 23 primary, but former U.N ambassador Nikki Haley, who appeals to more moderate voters, has closed the gap in recent opinion polls.