Iowa has many counties to track caucus results — 99 to be exact.
To get a sense of whether former President Donald Trump had a good night, look to rural and blue-collar counties from former President Barack Obama to Trump.
Rural northwest Iowa and other areas where Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz did well in 2016 will be key to tracking DeSantis, who draws on the evangelical vote. And for former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, watch out for the suburbs where she’s focused her campaign efforts.
Here are five countries to watch:
Buena Vista County: This sparsely populated county in northwest Iowa includes the city of Storm Lake and is about 30% Latino. Cruz carried the county by 6 percentage points in 2016, winning 31 percent of the vote to Trump’s 25 percent. The district could test Trump’s standing in rural Iowa and DeSantis’ strength as his allies focus on mass outreach in rural areas.
Linn County: This eastern Iowa county includes the city of Cedar Rapids and its surrounding areas, so it could provide a key test of suburban GOP voters, a core for Haley, who has consolidated the anti-Trump vote. Cruz carried Linn County by 5 percentage points in 2016, with Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio in second.
Polk County: This county is the most populous in the state and includes Des Moines County. Voters there lean more GOP-leaning, and Rubio carried the county by 2 points in 2016. It could be a key test for whether Trump’s rivals, like Haley, want to make inroads in the suburbs, and Governor Kim. Reynolds’ endorsement of DeSantis is resonating with voters in and around the state capital.
Scott County: This east regional, which includes Davenport, will be key to watch to see if Haley has a good night in Iowa. If Haley does well in the highly educated suburbs of eastern Iowa, where voters may be less inclined to support Trump, that could be a troubling sign for DeSantis, who is running for second place. In 2016, Rubio won Scott County by 1 percentage point.
Sioux County: This northwest Iowa county will test where Iowa’s evangelical voters move within their caucuses. It was Trump’s worst county in 2016. He received just 11% of the vote, while Cruz narrowly defeated Rubio to win the county by 1 point. If Trump scores in rural areas like Sioux County, it could be a sign he’s poised for a decisive victory.
In other campaign news…
More from the Iowa poll: There’s plenty to dig into in the NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll, including the voters that led to Haley’s rise. boosted by anti-Trump Iowans. The query also finds Trump dominates among first-time votersWho is his campaign targeting for a big win?
Biden’s big number: Biden and Democratic Party groups collected 97 million dollars together Through the last three months of 2023, they ended the year with $117 million in campaign accounts, according to NBC’s Mike Memoli.
Hayley’s balancing act: NBC’s Ali Vitali and John Allen investigate How Haley leans into her femininity on the campaign trailwrites that his campaign is “fraught with the tension of communicating with voters who want to be part of making history and those who don’t want to be told, so they must vote for him.
Caucus Eve Endorsements: Former presidential candidate North Dakota Governor Burgum threw his support behind Trump Sunday at the Iowa rally. Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio He also supported TrumpDeSantis is poking fun at Haley, her home state governor and a supporter of Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign. Haley received his confirmation on Sunday from former Maryland governor Larry Hogan.
All aboard the Trump train: The Washington Post investigates Trump’s legal battle has boosted support among evangelicals In Iowa. And the New York Times investigates how college-educated Republicans “they gave strength quietly [Trump’s] remarkable political revival within the party.
Plow forward: DeSantis plans to go directly to South CarolinaNBC’s Alec Hernández reports that the fourth contest on the GOP primary calendar is the night after the Iowa caucuses, though he will return to New Hampshire before the state’s first special primary next week.
Friends on the far right: Trump’s allies concerned about his embrace of far-right activist Laura Loomerone told NBC’s Allan Smith, Katherine Doyle and Von Hillyard that he was “responsible.”
Canceled: Biden’s allies worry voters they don’t give credit to the president NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez and Ghael Fobes report on the $132 billion in student debt he eliminated in his first term.