Iowa caucus results: Trump wins as the candidates turn their focus to New Hampshire


January 16, 2024 at 7:54 AM EST

TOPSHOT - Supporters Donald Trump celebrate at a watch party during the 2024 Iowa Republican presidential caucuses in Des Moines, Iowa on Monday.

Jim Watson


AFP via Getty Images

Supporters of Donald Trump celebrate at a watch party during the 2024 Iowa Republican presidential caucuses in Des Moines on Monday.

One thing is clear from last night: The polls that showed Donald Trump with a significant lead in Iowa weren’t wrong.

The fact that the AP called the race for Trump in just over half an hour “confirmed that this was just Trump’s night, and it put a big exclamation point on it,” NPR’s Don Gonyea reports this morning from Des Moines, where it’s eight degrees below zero outside.

He says there are two other takeaways of note. For one, Republicans in Iowa are not bothered by the fact that their candidate of choice faces 91 criminal charges. And second, the cold weather did appear to put a damper on turnout — at least compared to the record set in 2016 — but wasn’t likely to have made a huge difference.

“There’s no sense here that greater turnout was going to change those numbers in any meaningful way,” Gonyea says.

Winning Iowa doesn’t necessarily guarantee the presidential nomination, Gonyea points out. But he says Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis are facing a steep comeback climb.

“In fact, it’s a mountain,” he adds.

DeSantis placed second, which Gonyea says he needed based on all he’d invested in the state — visiting all of Iowa’s 99 counties and securing the endorsement of its governor. Gonyea says DeSantis arguably needed a “better second place than he got, but this gives him something to hang on to to fight another day.”

As for Haley, Gonyea says she’s likely at least a little disappointed given her recent rise in the polls, which suggested she could have finished second. But she was always expected to do better in New Hampshire, with its more moderate electorate.

One more notable development: The GOP primary field has narrowed, with Vivek Ramaswamy suspending his race after finishing fourth. Gonyea says those votes are likely to go to Trump — whom Ramaswamy endorsed — since they’re running “in the same lane.”

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