Temperatures throughout Iowa are below zero the day before the Iowa caucuses, and NBC’s Chuck Todd thinks the extreme weather could throw a curveball into the results. The NBC News political director told “Meet the Press” host Kristen Welker that signs are pointing to a surprisingly strong performance for Ron DeSantis against heavy favorite Donald Trump.
“[The weather] almost is the entire ballgame for turnout because the smaller the turnout, that’s when weird things happen here,” Todd said. “Rick Santorum didn’t win in a large turnout. And Donald Trump has benefitted from big turnouts. The higher the turnout has been in the general election, more Trump voters have come. And is there a complacency issue that Trump has to worry about?”
In final polls conducted by NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom in Iowa, Trump held a nearly 30 point lead over the other Republican challengers for the primary at 48%. Nikki Haley scored 20% while DeSantis sat in third place with 16%. To Todd’s point, though, the extreme temperatures are likely to lead to a much smaller turnout, which could lead to surprising results.
“It should be a real advantage to Ron DeSantis. Here’s the guy that has been building an organization longer than any other campaign,” he said. “He’s got the governor on his side who’s got a built-in organization. This is why you build an organization, is when the weather drops unexpectedly, are you gonna get your people out? So in theory this is all, I think, setting up really well right now for Ron DeSantis.”
The forecast for Monday isn’t much warmer with highs still below zero, and wind chills reaching temperatures as low as -45. All eyes are on the Iowa caucus as the Republican primary race enters a key phase this week.
Can a spoiler emerge, or is a Trump victory inevitable?
WATCH: @chucktodd says frigid weather is “the whole ballgame” for the outcome of the Iowa caucuses because “weird things happen” with low turnout.
“It should be a real advantage for Ron DeSantis. … This is why you build an organization — when the weather drops unexpectedly.” pic.twitter.com/2CbIk2hePm
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 14, 2024
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