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WinnersTed Cruz: He needed a victory and he got it--by 4pts over Trump. This was with heavy turn-out (from what we heard, anyway) that was supposed to benefit Trump. Conjecture: tons of people turned out just to vote against Trump. In any event, heavy turnout in Iowa is a good sign for the GOP in November.
Bernie Sanders: He looked weak going in--but came back to a statistical tie. Heck--he might even win (although Clinton was declared the victor last night). If Sanders "loses by a nose" that's okay: he has a really big nose. This proves he can have staying power wherever the youth vote turns out.
LosersPolling: If polling aggregates were on the nose in '08 and '12, after '14 they've been awful. Even the Des Moines Register's super-pollster got it wrong. Basically? Nobody knows who's ahead.
Trump: He was projected to win--if only by a little. He blew expectations. Now, second in Iowa isn't bad--but it's not the win-so-much-we're-tired-of-winning projection either. Basically? He needs to win NH--where he is WAY up.
Rubio: Rubio is getting counted as a win for coming in 3rd in Iowa. That's ... good for him in that he becomes the defacto establishment choice until something changes. It's bad, though, in that he couldn't beat Trump (he came close) and 3rd place is still 3rd place. Expect the attacks to intensify.
It's also bad in that the news of his "surge," while not exactly false, was, like all his other "break out moments" not enough. It's starting to be a trend.
ThoughtsThe Omnivore thinks the Democrats would be insane to pick Sanders and the Republicans would be ill-advised to settle on Cruz. Sanders has the youthful energy--but will lose everyone on branding (an out-and-proud socialist who makes good on the lie that Obama was offering everyone 'free stuff' is not going to win a general election).
Cruz's first in Iowa is actually a vote against him in the general (Santorum and Huckabee also took first in Iowa). Basically, Ted has slid the control all the way to the right for evangelicals--and he's not going to be able to etch-a-sketch later. If he wins the nomination, he'll have to win the general as a right-wing evangelical. That's hard.
Rubio, however, is a better bet than Jeb. What remains to be seen is how Trump and Cruz's (and, erm, Jeb's) attacks on him work. Can they really, actually damage him? We don't know.