The pollsters blew it again on Monday night.
According to the final poll by Quinnipac, Trump was supposed to win by seven points followed by Cruz, Rubio and Carson.
The winner was clearly botched.
Even the Princeton Election Consortium, that holds an astounding record of predicting elections, had Trump as the clear victor.
So what happened?
With hindsight, the results make sense.
Everything came down to the ground game . . . the extensive get-out-the-vote efforts that consultants say are the vital element of a successful campaign.
They were right.
Despite Donald Trump’s unconventional campaign where he was leading despite not taking the traditional campaign steps that have been part of “the game” for decades, the candidate was still gaining ground.
No one could reasonably call whether Trump’s unconventional take would result in a victory or a loss and the billionaire didn’t cover himself by developing a semi-competent ground game.
Instead, Trump showed a bit of arrogance and allowed his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, to continue to play the role of “yes man” and eschew the traditional efforts.
As a result, Cruz won by four points.
The Texas senator was also helped by Ben Carson’s campaign gaffe that could not have been delivered at a worse moment – somehow Carson allowed it to leak that he was headed to Florida for a “fresh set of clothes” just as Iowans began to Caucus.
While Cruz beat Trump, Rubio won the night with a strong, third place showing of 23%.
Turnout was expected to be high . . . but not THAT high.
The three top finishers, Cruz, Trump and Rubio, all received more votes than the 2012 winner, Rick Santorum.
The biggest loser of the night was without a doubt Jeb Bush. Only garnering 5,238 votes, the candidate’s air game was as effective as a no-fly zone over Syria.
Bush spent $2,884 per vote, which could very well be a record. In 2012, Rick Perry’s campaign was ridiculed for spending $62.11 per vote in New Hampshire.
The former Florida governor has relied heavily on television ads paid for by his SuperPAC. Those ads clearly made little difference as Bush finished in sixth place with 2.8% of the vote.
While Bush is a clear loser, his campaign consultants are winning big by pocketing millions of dollars of commissions in purchased airtime.
Going into New Hampshire, look for Donald Trump to reorganize his campaign, Cruz and Rubio to march forward with their game plans, and Bush to laughably lose even more money with a failed strategy.