With all eyes on the Hawkeye State ahead of Monday's Democratic caucuses, the opposition party is at risk of being overshadowed by the incumbent. President Trump rolled into Iowa for a rally in Des Moines last night, which was packed to the gills with supporters, prompting this dispatch from the Washington Examiner's Trump-critical conservative columnist Philip Klein:
Dispatch from Iowa: "Why Trump's Des Moines rally should make Democrats nervous" https://t.co/g8UJbshiAs— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) January 31, 2020
Nonetheless, the fact that Trump was able to draw such a devoted crowd -- with some people even camping overnight to be guaranteed entry, and others willing to stand out in sub-freezing temperatures to watch a speech on a video screen just to get a taste of the experience, does say something. It speaks to a certain intensity level that makes Trump’s reelection more likely than most presidents entering an election year with approval rating hovering around 45 percent...One thing struck me. Whether they backed him in 2016 or were more recent converts, one factor that his supporters kept bringing up was their feeling that he had delivered on his promises in a way other elected officials have not...Trump has something going for him in 2020 that he didn’t have in 2016. And that’s a list of conservative policy gains -- as well as economic metrics -- that, to his boosters, make supporting him no longer a leap of faith.
Juxtapose the jammed Trump event with this:
Biden draws a small crowd this afternoon in Newton, Iowa (30 miles east of Des Moines). pic.twitter.com/jyTi4LufgF— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) January 30, 2020
Crowd sizes aren't everything, but might Democratic strategists look at that turnout for the party's national frontrunner and harbor some concerns? Enthusiasm is an important factor that may currently cut in the Republicans' favor. Klein's piece quotes two voters, a 2016 Never Trump Republican and a Hillary supporter, who plan to support the president's re-election this fall. The point about the resonance of Trump's "promises made, promises kept" slogan is backed up by this finding of a new CBS News poll:
"Promises made, promises kept" is resonating. This poll is a mixed bag for POTUS, but he's at (+21) on the economy, and more voters think impeachment will help him / hurt Democrats than say the opposite. Congressional Democrats' *disapproval* rating at 58% (GOP also weak). pic.twitter.com/n2BIkyWLmx— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) January 31, 2020
A fresh survey from the New York Times and Siena College shows Trump leading all potential Democratic challengers, though the size of his advantage varies. The candidate is pleased:
On one hand, these margins fall short of Trump's nine-point Iowa victory in the last election. On the other hand, Trump ended up outperforming the state's final polling average by more than six points. I'll leave you with an observation about what's been driving press coverage in Hawkeye land, followed by the Super Bowl ad (economy-forward for obvious reasons) Team Trump will run on Sunday:
It happened again: Democratic presidential candidates did not make the front page of the Des Moines Register three days out from the Iowa caucuses. pic.twitter.com/p0OBNhtmsq— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) January 31, 2020
Stronger, Safer, More Prosperous ????— Team Trump (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TeamTrump) January 30, 2020
WATCH our Super Bowl ad below! pic.twitter.com/NcmRzX2Dnm
The aforementioned CBS News poll shows fully 75 percent of voters calling the US economy 'good.' Trump is claiming credit (most voters agree) and hoping to capitalize, big league.