February 02

The Psychological Effect from Iowa

There are numerous opinions when it comes to Iowa. Some say it is still important for the presidential race, others say it is overly hyped up, but one thing for sure is that as the first state to choose a primary winner, the psychological effects from Iowa are real, and impact the rest of the race.

Before yesterday, everything was hypothetical. The media and the pollsters really dictated who was in the lead, who had no chance, and who to watch out for. While this was based on some numbers in polls, polls are a statistic and for the most part are random. There are so many factors that can happen the day of an election that can cause people to vote or not to vote, so what they say on the phone to whomever is collecting data could be totally different from when they actually hand in their vote.

So yesterday, we saw a glimpse of how candidates actually will do when it comes to election day. While Iowa only represents a certain type of Republican voter on a whole, it showed a very important aspect of the primary season: polls are not always right. Donald Trump was winning in double digits, and then lost to Ted Cruz.

But more than anything, there is a huge psychological effect from Iowa. For example, the media had been looking at Trump like he was unstoppable. Before yesterday, it looked like he would take every single state and swiftly secure the Republican nomination. After yesterday, however, people are starting to wonder if there is only a lot of hype and media coverage on the tycoon, and voters will not come out for him. Furthermore, candidates like Rubio, who did much better than predicted, are going to feel a new energy for their cause, and much more momentum than they did before the real results. Cruz, who now is stronger than ever, is on a high horse, but could easily fall off of it if he does not do well in New Hampshire.

These early states are important more than anything because of the psychological effects they have on the voters. Winners and losers and those who did better or worse than expected cause candidates to either gain or lose momentum. It also causes voters to increase their belief for a candidate based on how well they did in the state, or lose faith for a candidate because they could not make the cut. Take Clinton and Sanders, for example. All those that thought Clinton was untouchable might change their minds after last night, and it is more than likely that Sander’s campaign will get a fresh set of volunteers and supporters.

As we enter New Hampshire and South Carolina, the importance of the winning or losing effect will grow even stronger, and have more of an impact on who voters choose. Like a snowball, candidates will either continue to grow, or simply not stick. Iowa is the beginning of this process, and its effects are already causing candidates to drop out, or pick up new followers.