By ALEX ALEXIEV
With one week left before the first results from the Iowa caucuses are due, the competition in both parties is heating up significantly.
The Republican Party – On the GOP side the race was marked by the first organized effort by republican circles to stop Donald Trump. It came in the form of an issue in the prominent conservative publication National Review and an advertisement which detailed past Trump statements indicating that his views were much closer to the democratic party. These included his past positions on abortion, gun rights, support for Hillary Clinton and a variety of other issues. Trump himself made a number of highly controversial statements including a claim that he could shoot somebody on 5th Avenue and still not lose any votes. The latest polls seem to confirm that with Trump increasing his lead over Cruz in Iowa. The big question among election pundits is whether his supporters will actually turn out to vote. There have been a number of polls which show that his supporters are not always regular voters.
The Democratic Party – The big news in the democratic party last week was sudden speculation that former New York mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg may join the race as a democratic candidate. Even though Bloomberg ran and won the NYC race as a republican, his positions on the issues have traditionally been much closer to the democratic ones and informed observers gave him a fair chance if he were to jump in. The intensity of the speculations about Bloomberg among democrats may be an indication of how weak some consider the current democratic field. Among republicans, Bloomberg is not considered a serious threat because his signature issue – gun control, is highly unpopular in the GOP. In other election news, a number of Iowa polls show Bernie Sanders catching up with Hillary, indicating the possibility of a real surprise there. He has also increased his lead in New Hampshire.
Latest Polls from realclearpolitics.org:
GOP national: Trump – 34.8%, Cruz – 19%, Rubio – 11.8%, Carson – 8.6%, Bush – 5%
GOP Iowa: Trump 33.6%, Cruz – 27.2%, Rubio – 11.8%, Carson – 7.2%, Paul – 3.6%
GOP New Hampshire: Trump – 32.3%, Cruz – 12.8%, Kasich – 12%, Rubio – 10.7%, Bush – 8%
Democrat national: Clinton – 52%, Sanders – 37.4%, O’Malley – 1.8%
Democrat Iowa: Clinton – 46%, Sanders – 45.4%, O’Malley – 4.4%
Democrat New Hampshire: Sanders – 53.3%, Clinton – 38.7%, O’Malley – 2.6%