We’re on to New Hampshire

Well, that will leave a mark on Donald Trump. The consensus front-runner right up until the first votes were cast is now leading from behind. The Iowa caucuses handed him a humbling second-place finish to Ted Cruz that showed the bombastic billionaire under-performing his poll numbers, suggesting his support is somewhat illusory.

But is it? Does the voting preference of a slightly-older, slightly-poorer, enormously white electorate in the Midwest spell doom for Trump? Or can he rebound in the slightly-older, slightly-wealthier, even whiter first-in-the-nation primary just north of us in New Hampshire?

An even bigger question is whether this was actually a predictable outcome. While Trump had been leading in just about every local and national poll heading into Iowa — and reminding everyone he was leading every local and national poll heading into Iowa — there were questions about how solid his support was and whether he was just a vessel for voter anger. Or maybe the respondents were spellbound by celebrity.

One poll that went largely unnoticed came out from Gallup at the end of last week.It showed that while 33 percent of Americans viewed the reality star favorably, his unfavorability stood at an astounding 60 percent, the highest by far of any major party candidate since Gallup began tracking such numbers. The 33 percent favorability, about where Trump stood in most polls asking voters their top choice, is a pretty good indication of his ceiling.

Perhaps the only person almost as pleased as Cruz was Jeb(!). Though he came in around the middle of the pack, he at least saw his schoolyard bully handed his lunch of crow. Bush ads have been ubiquitous around here and now will ramp up even further as he puts all his eggs into the New Hampshire basket. But coming in a distant sixth, the one-time heir to the nomination will have to scramble to convince financial backers he’s the guy to carry the mantle while both Cruz and Marco Rubio are rising in the race.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton declared victory while Bernie Sanders tells one and all he “astounded the world.” Well, if your world consists of about 170,000 Democrats on a cold February night in Iowa — less than one-tenth of one percent of the nation’s registered voters — then, yeah, you rocked it. Clinton received 699 delegates to Sanders 695 delegates, with former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley‘s eight delegates denying either one a majority. But there was one conclusive result: O’Malley dropped out of the race.

Given all the attention on Iowa and New Hampshire, which are not all that representative of the nation as a whole, it’s hard to understand just what a victory in each means, other than they’re the first. In Iowa, only four of the eventual Democratic nominees have won the caucuses dating back to 1976, while just three of the Republican nominees have emerged as the winner in Iowa.

New Hampshire has treated front-runners a little kinder, though not much, as five eventual nominees since 1952, not including incumbents, emerged victorious in the Granite State. For Republicans, again excluding sitting presidents, six nominees took the top spot going back to 1948. But this year’s field would be wise to remember Pat Buchanan.


(The emailed version of Download incorrectly explained how Democrats votes are counted in Iowa. That has been corrected online.)


A Herald editorial cheers House Speaker Robert DeLeo‘s strong words of support for charter schools.

A key member of the House leadership says he foresees the Legislature will “eventually” take action on daily fantasy sports sites, though no one is in any rush. (State House News)


A Weymouth firefighter who posted on Facebook to “let (addicts) die” and administering the overdose-reversing drug Narcan only allowed them to keep using has been suspended without pay for 90 days. (Patriot Ledger)

A member of the Barnstable County legislative body is proposing sweeping reform of the regional government, paring the number of delegates back from 18 down to five. (Cape Cod Times)


US Rep. Katherine Clark, who has spoken out against “swatting,” finds herself a victim of the practice as police surround her Melrose home Sunday night after getting a fake call reporting an active shooter at the address. (Boston Globe)

The nine Massachusetts incumbent members of the US House raised $6.5 million last year in campaign contributions, led by Seth Moulton. (GateHouse)


Voters in three Massachusetts House districts go to the polls today in special primary elections. (Mass. Numbers)


A report from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis finds that workers’ wages and benefits rose in the last quarter of 2015 but consumer spending was stagnant, indicating people were saving rather than splurging. (U.S. News & World Report)


Suffolk University‘s faculty senate is asking the school’s board of trustees to hold off on a planned meeting this Friday that reportedly will be centered on a vote to fire President Margaret McKenna. Suffolk students, faculty, and staff are planning a rally this afternoon in support of McKenna. (Boston Herald) Not all Suffolk trustees are on board with the idea of firing McKenna; in fact, some say they’ve not even been consulted about the idea. (Boston Globe). In case you missed it, veteran Suffolk professor John Berg lays out the case for McKenna — and slams the trustee’s ongoing micromanaging of university affairs — in this piece for CommonWealth.


Richard Knox has a good overview of the current state of the Zika virus pandemic. (WBUR)

A new survey finds that Massachusetts doctors generally don’t ask patients about their mental health. (Wicked Local)

Ed Silverman says a lawsuit by Attorney General Maura Healey against Gilead Sciences over the cost of its hepatitis C drugs would likely be a bust. (STAT)

A new study finds there may be a correlation between high salaries for hospital CEOs and better care at those facilities. (International Business Times)


T riders and transit advocates speak out against proposed fare increases at a public hearing in Boston. (Boston Globe)

How crowded is too crowded when it comes to riding the MBTA? For 18 percent of riders, nothing will stop them from trying to board. (CommonWealth)


About 100 opponents of a proposed LNG facility in Acushnet and town officials were told by town counsel at a hearing that, despite their opposition, federal officials control the permitting and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it if they approve it. (Standard-Times)

Plymouth‘s sewer main has ruptured for the third time in less than a month because of extreme corrosion on the 15-year-old steel pipe, triggering warnings on residents to limit water use. (Patriot Ledger)


A Suffolk superior court judge slammed Bridgewater State University officials and Attorney General Maura Healey‘s office for trying to block parents from getting documents in connection with a lawsuit by a group of a parents alleging their children were abused at a child care center run by the university. (Boston Globe)

Dante Ramos says federal criminal justice reform will be hard to pull off — even with supporters like conservative Texas Sen. John Cornyn on board. (Boston Globe)

A Hyannis doctor is defending his decision to write a prescription for 420 oxycodone pills to a 62-year-old woman who was arrested along with her son, who admitted to being an addict, splitting up the narcotics in a car behind a West Yarmouth motel dumpster. (Cape Cod Times)


Former Fox 25 anchor Maria Stephanos lands at Channel 5 as a new co-anchor. (Boston Herald)