A big win for Barack Obama in the Democrat race:
- Barack Obama 37.6%, John Edwards 29.8%, Hillary Clinton 29.5%
A very comfortable win for Mike Huckabee in the GOP race:
- Mike Huckabee 34%, Mitt Romney 25%, Fred Thompson 13.4%, John McCain 13.2%, Paul 10%
- Rudy Giuliani (3%) effectively skipped the Iowa caucus
[For the uninitiated, the Iowa caucuses are just stage one in the presidential nomination process. The victors of Iowa hope to receive momentum - in terms of fundraising and publicity - for the battles ahead but nothing is in the bag yet].
OUR CANDIDATE-BY-CANDIDATE GUIDE TO WHAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT...
First the Democrats...
Hillary Clinton: A short time ago her candidacy was, the pundits thought, inevitable. No longer. She even lost amongst Iowa's women. She still has enormous resources at her disposal but the momentum is now with Barack Obama.
Peggy Noonan: "She had the money, she had the organization, the party's stars, she had Elvis behind her, and the Clinton name in a base that loved Bill. And she lost."
Mark Steyn gets it right: "We shouldn't take away from the Senator [Obama]'s achievement tonight. He's made history. And the problem for Hillary is that, for those Democrats who want to cast a history-making vote, he's a much more appealing figure than she is."
Graphic from RedState.
John Edwards: "He needed to win here and he was a distant second. He won't quit immediately but he faces almost impossible odds. The next big question for him is when to pull out and to whom he should throw his valuable support." - Gerry Baker
Barack Obama: If you want to know why Obama won simply watch his victory speech. His optimistic, let's-bring-the-nation-together message is potent (warning... it's fourteen minutes long):
"Obama is now not only the favorite to win the Democratic presidential nomination, he's the candidate in either party with the best chance of becoming the next president." Who said that? Andrew Sullivan or some other Obama cheerleader? No. The Bush-supporter Fred Barnes at The Weekly Standard. John O'Sullivan also says Obama must now be favourite.
There are also signs the Democrats are much more energised than the Republicans. Two-thirds of the people who voted in Iowa voted for Democrat candidates.
Senators Dodd and Biden have quit the race and there will now be a scramble for their endorsement. It can't be long before Bill Richardson calls it a day too.
AND THE REPUBLICANS...
John McCain: If you want to know if McCain is pleased at this result just look at the photograph on the right (hat tip to the Green Mountain blog). McCain is on the phone to Mike Huckabee congratulating him on his victory in
New Hampshire (corrected... Iowa!). Romney is McCain's principal rival for the votes of New Hampshire and Romney now goes into New Hampshire a lesser figure. McCain's latest (six day) tour of NH is reviewed here.
Mitt Romney: A big loser. If he'd won tonight (and he spent $10m of his huge personal fortune trying to do so) he would have had momentum for New Hampshire. According to the American Spectator he spent $322.58 for every one of his projected 31,000 votes; Mike Huckabee spent $47.44 per vote for a projected 42,160 votes. Here's why many don't like Romney:
"Mitt Romney represents everything Americans hate about politicians: the empty man hungry for power and willing to say anything to get it, the privileged man who thinks he can buy an election without actually standing for anything."
James Forsyth: "It is very hard to see how Romney now holds off a surging McCain in New Hampshire and if he loses both early states it is all over for Romney."
Rudy Giuliani: He didn't contest Iowa which many have always thought a big mistake. He'll be glad that Romney has no momentum. He'll hope that McCain doesn't win big in New Hampshire.
Mike Huckabee: He's still unlikely to win the Republican nomination but he's now the most important Christian conservative politician in America and may well be McCain's running mate. He's also very likeable. Explaining his decision to go on Leno rather than stay in Iowa he said: "People are looking for a presidential candidate who reminds them more of the guy they work with rather than the guy that laid them off." And that's Mike Huckabee (and Romney is the guy that laid them off).
Watch Huckabee on Leno here.
Ron Paul: No big breakthrough for the libertarian, anti-war Republican.
Fred Thompson: He came third (just). He'll stay in the race for now.