Feb 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

2020 election: Iowa chaos presents dream scenario for Trump, Bloomberg

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer/Getty Images and Gary Gershoff/WireImage

It's hard to imagine a better opening for 2020 for President Trump and Mike Bloomberg than the ongoing chaos in the Hawkeye State.

The big picture: Trump's approval rating is at a historic high, Bloomberg is scaling up his campaign, and there's another caucus coming later this month — and they had planned on using that app!

  • Trump's Gallup approval rating hit 49%, his highest rating in that poll since taking office.
  • Bloomberg is doubling his TV ad spending and expanding staff in the field to 2,000 people.
  • Nevada's Democrats say their Feb. 22 caucus will not use the same vote-tallying app that's being blamed for Iowa.
  • “We had already developed a series of backups and redundant reporting systems, and are currently evaluating the best path forward," said a Nevada state party official.

Between the lines: These are the conditions that could help Bloomberg soar past the 15% margin required to pick up delegates in Super Tuesday states, especially if a plentitude of campaigns break the bank over the next month.

What's next: Democrats debate on Friday, and New Hampshire votes Tuesday.

  • Hopefully, we know who won Iowa before then.

Go deeper: What to expect from Trump's State of the Union address

Go deeper

Trump notches his highest Gallup approval rating since taking office

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump's approval rating hit 49% in Gallup's tracking poll, his highest rating in that poll since taking office.

Why it matters: The president's approval reached its peak despite the fact that the poll was conducted from Jan. 16 to 29 — amid his ongoing impeachment trial in the Senate.

Nevada Democrats say their caucus won't use Iowa's app

Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Nevada's Democrats say their Feb. 22 caucus will not use the same vote-tallying app that's being blamed for the unprecedented delay reporting Monday's Iowa caucus results. CNN previously reported Nevada would.

Our thought bubble: When software introductions fail as badly as Iowa's just did, engineers typically "roll back" their system to its last previously functioning state. For Nevada's Democrats, that's likely to mean turning back the clock to the way they did it four years ago.

Bloomberg's big bet on the power of money

Data: Advertising Analytics, FEC; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Michael Bloomberg’s prolific spending aims to make him as legitimate and familiar as his rivals. It also confronts two realities: President Trump is out-raising all the other Democrats with ease, and the Democratic National Committee is anemic.

Why it matters: Bloomberg is betting that enough exposure — through a $300m+ ad campaign and a non-traditional run that looks past the early four states — will make him competitive in Super Tuesday, and make all Democrats stronger in the general election.