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Iowa poll predicts Trump, Cruz and Rubio as the three "ticket bearers"

The Iowa Poll- the one to pay attention to in this state- has Trump at 30%, Cruz at 23%, Rubio at 16%, Carson at 10%, Bush at four percent, Huckabee at three percent, Kasich at three percent, Paul at three percent, Christie at two percent, and Fiorina at two percent.

That's pretty much my sense of how things are shaking out. The three "tickets" out of Iowa look to go to Trump, Cruz and Rubio. With Rubio ahead of Bush, Kasich and Christie in New Hampshire, he seems to be in a pretty strong position to consolidate his place as the centrist alternative to Trump and Cruz.

Bush, Kasich and Christie, on the other hand, have to make something happen fast or fade out of the picture.

The real question on Caucus Night may be one of margin- how much Trump beats Cruz by (the expected influx of first-time caucus goers will probably inflate that margin) and how close Rubio can come to the two leaders.

Finishing lower than third would be a disaster for Rubio, and throw him into a free-for-all with Bush, Christie and Kasich in a struggle among weakened centrists to represent the "Establishment" in the subsequent primaries and caucuses and the final fight for the nomination.

I'm not looking at this point for any surprises. I think it will be all about the margins.

HT: Drudge

ADDENDUM: Check those conclusions about New Hampshire.

If you take a look at the polls in aggregate, both Kasich and Bush are ahead of Rubio in New Hampshire. That poll showing Rubio in third was apparently an aberration.

The outcome of the Iowa Caucuses will doubtless influence New Hampshire, of course. But the battle between Rubio, Bush, Christie and Kasich to represent the Center may be a long and bruising one. Legitimate questions might even arise about whether centrist Republicans can even arrive at a consensus choice to rally around before it's too late.

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