The Best Pollster In Iowa Just Released Its Final Survey — How Accurate Has It Been?


The final Des Moines Register poll was just released, showing Donald Trump leading the Republican field in Iowa with 28 percent, Ted Cruz with 23 percent and Marco Rubio with 15 percent. Hillary Clinton was ahead of Bernie Sanders, 45 percent to 42 percent, on the Democratic side. The political world — us included — was eagerly awaiting this survey, as Ann Selzer, who has conducted the Register’s polls since the 1988 caucuses, has a very good track record. But just how predictive of the final results have Selzer’s polls been? History suggests they’re a good indicator of what will happen in Monday’s Iowa caucuses, though there is room for a candidate or two to surprise.

Why This Is the Iowa Poll That Everyone Was Waiting For

Perhaps no political poll is more eagerly anticipated and receives more attention than the last Des Moines Register poll before the Iowa caucuses.

This year, the final Des Moines Register/Bloomberg survey shows Hillary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders by three percentage points, 45 to 42, and Donald Trump leading Ted Cruz by five points, 28 to 23 percent.

The hype ahead of the survey is easy to understand. Conducted by Ann Selzer, it has one of the most impressive track records in polling — nailing the results even when many other polls predict a different outcome.

The Selzer poll became famous in 2008 when it showed Barack Obama winning with a stupendous turnout from voters who hadn’t previously participated in the caucus. In the 2014 midterm election, the survey found Joni Ernst winning her Senate race by a comfortable seven-point margin — no other poll showed Ms. Ernst ahead by even four points. She won by eight points.

Poll details


I hope this time they are wrong.


Here is my pronostication:

Trump and Hillary in 1st
Cruz and Sanders in 2nd
Rubio in 3rd

Cruz starts to fade in New Hampshire and there is a good chance Trump wins both New Hampshire and South Carolina. If that happens. He could very well run the table… or close to it. Right now the ‘establishment’ of the GOP really needs to get behind Rubio who is starting to make his move, or they will wake up with their worse nightmare facing them at the convention. And we could have a floor fight at the convention.

Rubio needs to come in 2nd in NH and win Florida


I agree with everything you wrote. Sadly.

People need to wake-up now.


Donald Trump is leading Iowa according to the latest Des Moines Register poll. But his lead is within the margin of error, and there is plenty of reason to suspect the electorate is still very fluid.


Trump’s lead is five points in this survey, that’s smaller than other recent surveys. It is widely assumed Ted Cruz will have a strong turnout operation (which is more crucial in caucus states than in primary states), and that Donald Trump will have a weak one. If these assumptions are true, that five point lead should be considered a tie–especially given the 4.4 percent margin of error in the poll.


While only 10 percent of respondents declared themself uncommitted or unsure, a lot more are actually up for grabs. A full 45 percent of respondents said they “could still be persuaded” to change their mind. This corresponds with my experience talking to voters this weekend.

Trump supporters and Cruz supporters are less persuadable, more committed than average voters – 71 percent and 62 percent respectively, say their mind is made up. Rubio is just below average. That suggests that the remaining third of the electorate–those backing Ben Carson and the minor candidates–are only 41 percent mind made up.

That puts about 14 percent of the electorate weakly attached to a minor candidate. There’s no guessing where that goes, but…


Rubio wins on the second-choice contest, with 20 percent to Cruz’s 17 percent (Trump is in 4th place with 7 percent).

Rubio has pulled ahead of Cruz in favorability (Carson is in first place in favorability). Rubio, at 21 percent, has the lowest unfavorables of anyone. Cruz’s favorables have fallen by 9 percent in the past month, but he’s still at 63 percent favorable.

When asked whether voters would be enthusiastic or “okay” with Rubio as the nominee, 58 percent said yes, putting him in a first place tie with Ben Carson. Cruz was third place with 56 percent. A full 37 percent said they would not be okay at all with Trump as the nominee.


I predict that if Trump wins the nomination, we will experience at least four more years of a Democrat as President.

Trump might have a popular following among angry Republicans, but I don’t believe his anger and harsh demeanor will play well with the moderate 1/3 of the voting public.


I voted Trump and Sanders. :slight_smile:


I believe that, too. sigh


I voted Hillary & Cruz although Bernie & Trump wouldn’t surprise me in the least. I think a 3rd for Rubio especially if he is behind the 2nd place finisher by 8 pts as the poll predicts, might not be enough for him to gain enough momentum to place 2nd in NH. Going forward I’d give Trump 1st in NH and Kasich, Jeb, or Christie 2nd there. Rubio a slimmer chance unless he finishes stronger than the poll predicts in IA. If Cruz were to take IA, he would be in the mix for a possible 2nd in NH. So going into SC I’m thinking it will be down to some combination of Trump, whomever is 2nd in NH, and Cruz, But Cruz first needs IA. It’s a state tailor-made for him with its evangelical vote on the GOP side. If Trump wins IA & NH, he goes on to the nomination.

On the Democratic side, & I say this as a Bernie backer, even if Bernie wins the 1st 2, I still think Hillary could bounce back afterwards. Her husband lost IA & NH and as of now she has a strong firewall after NH. Although Bernie would gain some momentum. But if Hillary wins IA & Bernie NH, and Trump wins the nomination and it’s Hillary vs Trump, I agree with irishpatrick. Trump might have a popular following among angry Republicans, but they won’t be enough in a general election. And the nearly 70% of Latinos I saw in a poll who have a negative view of him will turn out to vote against him. Along with much of the rest of America, outside of angry Republicans, who think negatively of the guy, and we can say for the first time in American history, “Madam President”.


I voted Cruz and Sanders.

As another poster commented, Ted Cruz really has a good organization in Iowa. Much stronger than Trump or anyone else. Trump has been getting large crowds, but how much of that is for the entertainment value? I know when Trump came near my nick of the woods many liberal ppl went to see him just bc of the celebrity, etc.

So, I’m really hoping for a Cruz victory. But, the nature of caucuses, where large gatherings of people get together, discuss politics, listen to empassioned cases and speeches of which candidate to vote for, then vote… is geared towards Cruz I think, and not Trump.

I think a lot of Trump people might switch/ be convinced to switch to Cruz. And, also its a fact that evangelical voters are always undercounted in polls, bc older evangelicals are really good at voting but not exactly the most likely people to respond to a telephone survey. It would be very surprising to me if the Iowa Caucuses went to Trump, bc they’ve been historically dominated by evangelicals. The last two winners were socially conservative and staunch Christians: Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.

As for Bernie Sanders, that one is more hope. But, in 2008 Hillary surprisingly lost to the much more liberal Obama. So, I’m hoping Sanders pulls another Obama-like upset over Hillary. I think Bernie Sanders will be much more easy to defeat in a general election.


I voted Trump/Clinton, but I think it could be Cruz/Sanders.


Lily, finally in just 2 more nights we shall know. :thumbsup: Bernie says a big turnout, he wins, But he needs the college-aged voters to come out just as Trump needs the people who have stood in line for his show. Interestingly, they say there hasn’t been much of an increase in voter registration, although that might mean nil because voters can register on caucus night.


I would LOVE to see Bernie get this win, Sy! I think he’s very close behind Clinton, so he could pull it off! There’s another snowstorm heading to Iowa, too, but last I heard, it won’t hit till after midnight. Bernie could very well pull this one out! Here’s hoping!


Why would you like Bernie Sanders to win?


I voted the same but think it is really too close to call on both sides. A Trump-Clinton battle, however, for us political junkies would be a sight to behold.


It is too close to call. It’ll depend to some degree on the weather because that, as always, will affect turnout.


Because if he wins the nomination he’ll be McSanders :smiley:


Perhaps she supports universal, single-payer healthcare like we have in Europe.


Not to mention Sanders’ desire for an economic revolution in the U. S. from the grassroots, bottom-up so that the middle class stop getting squeezed. No wonder he has so many young college-student supporters.


I think Sanders represents real change for many young Americans in particular. The U.S. has one of the world’s worst income gaps, especially for a developed country. So I do understand the appeal.

I would question why he calls himself a “socialist” though. Universal healthcare is supported by everyone in Europe, even the far right. It isn’t socialist. Nor do the rest of his policies strike me as Jeremy Corbyn style socialist class warfare.

He seems more like a social democrat.

I often wonder if Americans really understand what “socialism” means.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit