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In The Trenches: Cruz, Trump Slug It Out on the Ground in Iowa


From Niall Stanage writing in the Hill:


DES MOINES — Political insiders in Iowa have a warning: Don’t underestimate Donald Trump’s ground game.

Experts inside and outside the GOP tell The Hill it would be a mistake to think Trump’s organization is operating on a wing and a prayer when it comes to getting his supporters to caucus sites around Iowa on Monday night.

“I think his campaign is better organized than people give him credit for,” said David Yepsen, the director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, who covered the caucuses over several decades for The Des Moines Register.

“His campaign has got a couple of good leaders in it that have done this before.”

Trump got another boost on Saturday when the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg released their new poll showing him leading his top rival, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), 28 percent to 23 percent. The previous version of the same poll, released Jan. 13, had him trailing the Texan 25 percent to 22 percent.

Still, Trump could have particular challenges when it comes to his ground game.

Polls show an unusually high share of his supporters have never caucused before, and detractors question whether they will show up for the business mogul.

Voting in a primary is one thing. It merely involves casting a ballot, and maybe standing in line.

Iowa’s caucuses by their nature are more time-consuming and confusing.

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