Ted Cruz took the biggest leap ahead among the Republicans at the Iowa caucus on February 1 by grabbing 28 per cent of votes. The much talked-about Donald Trump was second with 24% and Marco Rubio third with a percentage less than him.
Cruz's victory gives him a psychological edge but there will be more challenges to his campaign banking on "very conservative" voters, an extremely well-oiled organisation and a strong fund-raising mechanism.
"Very Conservatives" made the day for Cruz in Iowa
In Iowa, Cruz's narrow victory was heavily dependent on the "very conservative" voters who dominate the caucuses in that state. In 2012, as an NYT report said, there was no primary state than Iowa where the "very conservative" voters formed a bigger share of the electorate.
If one looks at Cruz's vote share among the lesser conservative and moderate groups, the figures are just 19 and 9 per cents, respectively. Hence, Cruz, just like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorium, who failed to make it big after winning in Iowa in 2008 and 2012, respectively, needs to be cautious.
Trump leads in New Hampshire
This is where Trump and Rubio can prove to be tricky opponents for Cruz. Trump leads by a wide margin in New Hampshire where the primary will be held on February 9 and hence has every opportunity to challenge Cruz's initial lead. However, John H Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire, felt Trump is going to face a serious challenge, another NYT report said.
Rubio's show in New Hampshire will be crucial
But it is Rubio, who finished a close third in Iowa, who could be the real challenge to Cruz. Although the Republican camp has a number of major candidates jostling in New Hampshire (John Kasich, Christ Christie, Jeb Bush and Rubio have been clustered near 10 per cent of the vote-share as per surveys, said the NYT)
Rubio's show in New Hampshire will have an impact on how the run-up to the presidential nomination shapes up. A strong show by Rubio next Tuesday would mean the Republican camp will be all ready with an absorbing three-way race.