Elections

Trump still up with just over 100 days to go in Iowa

Where does Donald Trump stand?

Donald Trump entered the 2016 presidential race on June 16, 2015. Find out where he stands on four of the biggest issues this election: immigration, ISIS, job growth and gay marriage. (Daniel Desrochers/McClatchy DC)
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Donald Trump entered the 2016 presidential race on June 16, 2015. Find out where he stands on four of the biggest issues this election: immigration, ISIS, job growth and gay marriage. (Daniel Desrochers/McClatchy DC)

Donald Trump’s still on top, but the Iowa Republican field is highly unpredictable with the caucus now almost a hundred days away.

That’s the assessment of Craig Robinson, editor-in-chief of TheIowaRepublican.com, an influential Republican web site that covers the state.

He breaks the race into three brackets: Religious conservatives, establishment types and outsiders.

The religious group includes Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Robinson sees to two types of religious conservative voters: Socially conservative activists included to go with Cruz and Jindal, and those “not looking for someone to take a flame-thrower to Washington like Cruz and Jindal. “

They tend to be older and more inclined to back Huckabee and Santorum.

The conclusion: “Cruz has the potential. Huckabee has the personal connections. Santorum has a unique message and firm grasp on the issues. Jindal is either a wild card or the spoiler.”

The establishment bracket is “a mess,” Robinson found, with no one getting into double digits. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was the leader for awhile, but he faded and dropped out.

Donald Trump spoke at the TD Convention Center in Greenville, SC on August 27, 2015. Supporters share their views on what makes him the best candidate for president. (Gerry Melendez / The State)

“Bush (former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush) has the best ground game in Iowa of this lot,” he said. “(Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida) has tons of potential. Fiorina is the wild card and likely spoiler.” Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie “just make it harder for any establishment candidate to actually win Iowa.”

Then come the outsiders. “Trump might have spent most of his campaign money on flying around in his 757 and on campaign swag, but it would be a mistake to overlook the fact that he has the largest campaign staff in Iowa, and they guy leading his effort here, Chuck Laudner, knows a thing or two about how to organize for a caucus,” Robinson said.

His assessment of the outsiders: “Trump is unavoidable and better organized than you think. (Retired neurosurgeon Ben) Carson may have reached his ceiling. (Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky) is only interesting if he is a candidate on caucus day, which is hard for me to see.”

Robinson’s overall ranking as things stand today:

Trump

Carson

Cruz

Huckabee

Bush

Rubio

Fiorina

Santorum

Jindal

Paul

Christie

Kasich

David Lightman: 202-383-6101, @lightmandavid

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