As our friend Steve Deace explained a few days ago, polls in the weeks prior to the Iowa caucuses are predicting voter turnout models that far surpass even the highest record turnout they had in 2008.
The Monmouth poll that came out yesterday did the same and thus they are putting Donald Trump at a 7 point margin over Ted Cruz.
But if the models are decreased to slightly more than the turnout they had in 2008, which again is on record as the highest ever, then Trump and Cruz are neck and neck at 26%:
Since Trump draws a disproportionate amount of support from voters who are not political diehards, he will need a strong turnout to emerge victorious on February 1st. Based on past voting history and voters’ stated intentions to attend this year’s caucuses, the current poll estimates turnout will be approximately 170,000 voters, which would far surpass the 122,000 record GOP turnout from four years ago. Increasing the poll’s turnout projection to 200,000 voters widens Trump’s lead to 32% over 21% for Cruz, with Rubio at 16% and Carson at 9%. Decreasing the turnout projection to 130,000 voters, which would still be a record level, puts the race in a tie at 26% for Trump and 26% for Cruz, with Rubio at 15% and Carson at 12%.
“Turnout is basically what separates Trump and Cruz right now,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ. “Trump’s victory hinges on having a high number of self-motivated, lone wolf caucus goers show up Monday night.”
So that’s the bottomline and we’ll just have to see what happens on Monday. If turnout sets new records, The Donald may win. If not, Cruz may win.