In Iowa, the percentages of likely voters who reported having been contacted by each candidate's campaign and that candidate's Real Clear Politics' polling support averages:
It's immediately apparent that ground game and polling performance are strongly related. Indeed, they correlate at .79 (p-value = .002). Vigorous though that relationship is, once trend-bucking Trump is removed, the correlation increases to a nearly perfect .98 (p-value = .00000001). In other words, ground game--quaint though it may seem in a country of 330 million where mass communication is free, instantaneous, and almost infinitely scalable--appears to be deserving of the attention it receives.
The caucus process is tediously time-consuming. Consequently, turnout is much smaller than in comparable primaries, where the process mirrors that of general election voting. In 2012, just over 120,000 people--a mere 5% of Iowa's adult population--participated in the Republican caucuses. Cruz has been working the state for years. Historically, that pays dividends on caucus day.
But Trump has overcome seemingly insurmountable odds from the get-go. While Cruz and Rubio have pestered more individual Iowans than Trump has, Trump's message and mannerisms resonate with middle American radicals more viscerally than anything that comes out of the mouths of the political puppets.
The prediction markets for Iowa now have Trump at 70% and Cruz at 29%, suggesting that the smart money is on Trump to defy yet another allegedly ironclad rule of presidential campaigning. Cruz needs the snow expected in Iowa on Tuesday to turn out to be a blizzard that arrives a day earlier than the meteorologists are predicting it will. Des Moines' five-day forecast: