The Iowa caucuses are in significant part about who can get their supporters to show up. Thus, one thing I wanted to watch for at yesterday’s Growth and Oppoertunity event was which candidates got supporters to the fairgrounds to cheer and hold signs. This metric would, it seemed to me, provide a rough measure of some combination of level of support and “ground game.”
Unfortunately, neither Donald Trump nor Ben Carson spoke at the event. Both had supporters manning tables, but there was no reason for either campaign to bring in folks to cheer.
Of the candidates who spoke, I give the turnout prize to Ted Cruz. I estimate that he had roughly twice as many enthusiasts in attendance as any other candidate.
The runner-up, I believe, was Jeb Bush. This isn’t surprising. He has had the resources to build an organization and his family has been running in Iowa almost since the Republicans began holding the first-in-the-nation event there.
Only two other candidates seemed to have more than a handful of overt enthusiasts, excluding those who manned the tables. They were Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina, probably in that order.
No big surprises, then. The first tier and high second tier candidates got better turnout than the lower tier candidates. But perhaps the strong turnout for Cruz is a good sign for his prospects in Iowa.
In my next report, I will try to estimate the enthusiasm that the ten candidates generated among the crowd at large.