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How Cruz and Sanders Defied the Iowa Polls, Including Our Own

Bloomberg Politics pollster J. Ann Selzer reflects on how the two candidates beat expectations in Iowa.
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks on Feb. 1, 2016, in Jefferson, Iowa.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks on Feb. 1, 2016, in Jefferson, Iowa.

Photographer: Steve Pope/Getty Images

Last night was a thrill! Yet, as you may have noticed, the outcome of the Republican caucuses was not identical to the final Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll published Saturday. We had the top four candidates identified, all right, but we had Donald Trump with the win over Ted Cruz. 

After the release of the poll—and really, even at the release press conference Saturday evening—we talked about the “what ifs.” What could happen between then and Monday night that would produce a different ending to the story? The caucuses are, after all, designed for surprising twists.