As the campaigns of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and even Rand Paul—and their Democratic counterparts—prepare big parties Monday night to celebrate the Iowa caucuses, Jeb Bush supporters will have nowhere obvious to go. Because instead of spending the caucus night in Iowa, Bush will be in New Hampshire.
The mammoth super-PAC backing Bush has spent more than any other on ads in the state, pouring $15 million into Iowa. When you ask Iowans about the direct mail flooding their mailboxes, they often cite Bush as the candidate they get the most mail about. Bush was never as good a fit in the socially conservative Iowa Republican race as he hopes to be in New Hampshire. But Mitt Romney came in a close second in Iowa in 2012, proving that there is space for an establishment-style candidate to do well in Iowa if the state’s more moderate Republicans can rally around one person.
In 2016, that person is not Bush. When the highly anticipated Des Moines Register poll came out Saturday night, Bush was at just 2 percent. Time to move on to more promising territory, even if his superior poll numbers in New Hampshire still put him in a distant fourth place, with less than a third of the support enjoyed by the front-runner, Trump.