What Each 2016 Candidate Needs to Prove After Iowa Caucuses

With the Iowa caucuses behind them, the candidates now turn to New Hampshire.

ByABC News
February 2, 2016, 10:20 AM

— -- With the Iowa caucuses behind them, the 2016 presidential hopefuls now turn to New Hampshire, and dozens of other states across the country they will need to win the nomination.

Coming off a victory in the Hawkeye state, Ted Cruz isn’t likely to have the same success in New Hampshire, where voters tend to be more moderate and driven by economic policy. And Hillary Clinton, who has declared victory in a razor-thin race in Iowa, trails by a wide margin in the Granite State, which votes a week from today.

Here’s how each candidate will move forward from here to try to take the nomination:

1. Ted Cruz

The winner of the Republican caucuses needed a victory in Iowa, and he got one. Cruz’s evangelical and tea party support likely won’t boost him to a strong New Hampshire finish, and the Texas senator will need to prove he can win a more mainstream state. Still, Sunday’s campaign finance reports showed that Cruz’s campaign has a whopping $18.7 million in the bank, the most of any Republican candidate. He’s sticking around for a long time.

2. Donald Trump

After finishing behind Ted Cruz Monday night and nearly ceding second place to a last-minute Marco Rubio surge, Donald Trump needs to show he can take a win in New Hampshire. He holds a wide lead in the Granite State by about 20 percentage points in recent polls. From there, Trump will need to carry momentum into Super Tuesday on March 1.

3. Marco Rubio

Sen. Marco Rubio came in third place in Iowa, but don’t tell him that. The Florida senator boasted that his time had arrived in his speech afterwards. But there’s just one problem: He hasn’t actually won a state yet. Rubio needs to take an early state soon to show he can topple the outsiders. Still, delegates are divided proportionally in states until March 15, making it difficult for anyone to build a large delegate lead until that time.

4. Hillary Clinton

After such a tight race in Iowa and facing a likely loss in New Hampshire a week from now, experts say Clinton has a “firewall” in the fourth contest of South Carolina in late-February. Bernie Sanders has struggled throughout the campaign to draw support from nonwhite voters, so that bloc stands poised to hand Clinton a victory after lackluster performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, where the population is notably white and liberal. Still, she'll need to survive the next few weeks of chatter about Sanders' strong results in early states.

5. Bernie Sanders

Six months ago, Bernie Sanders was a blip on the radar screen. But now, still locked in a neck-and-neck battle with Clinton in Iowa, all eyes turn to New Hampshire, where the Vermont senator holds a strong, double-digit lead. Still, Sanders faces a severe uphill climb: He couldn’t earn an outright win a white, liberal state like Iowa and he trails by wide margins in most polling in Nevada, South Carolina and other more moderate, nonwhite states. He'll have to win over nonwhites and moderates to have any chance of remaining competitive into April.

6. The Rest

The rest of the 2016 field on the Republican side – like Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich -- won’t be thinking about coming up short in Iowa. Their focus has been on the first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire slated for next Tuesday. Two candidates – Mike Huckabee and Martin O’Malley – have already dropped out after dreary showings in Iowa.

Watch for others to drop out after the votes are tallied in New Hampshire next Tuesday.