1. Iowa is among the worst states in the country at picking the nominee for President

Since 1976, Iowa has picked a “winner” who went on to lose the primary contest, four times. Nine other states by contrast, have picked the winner every time. Perhaps the reason here is that while Iowa is valued for being the first state, and thus the state that sets the tempo for the race, its early positioning within the electoral cycle also means that it doesn’t get to base its decisions off late developments, political momentum, or other considerations that later states factor in.

2.Ted Cruz is in the lead for Iowa, as is Clinton

Whereas Hilary Clinton is all but guaranteed the nomination for the Democrats, Ted Cruz is a highly polarizing figure, feared by many within the Republican establishment to be too conservative. His win in Iowa could give him early momentum, but it’s also equally likely at this early stage that an early win actually means nothing at all for whether or not he will win the primary contest. Also, Hilary sure does look like the presumed nominee for now. She’s got a commanding lead in Iowa, as well as nationally. But don’t forget that she had a significant lead in Iowa 30 days out in 2008, a state where she ultimately came in 3rd.

3. At around this time in 2008 and 2012, Giuliani and Gingrich were winning in Iowa. Neither went on to win the state.

It’s important to bear in mind that a month can be a lifetime in politics. Leading in a state with this much time until polling day means very little. If winning an early primary like Iowa is important, and it is, candidates will be throwing everything they have at the upcoming race, in a frantic attempt to lurch towards first place before February 1.

4. It really all does come down to the last couple of weeks

Don’t forget, McCain was trailing Romney until about the last 30 days of 2008. A week really is a long time in politics.

5.Trump still has a number of weapons in his arsenal

Trump still thinks he’s about $30 million under budget for his campaign. And as a man with substantial personal wealth, whose pledged to mobilise $2 million per week in advertising spending, it’ll be pretty interesting to see how his ads play out over the next few weeks. He’s also been trying to avoid taking any personal shots against Cruz in the early stages of the campaign, but as we’ve seen with some of his recent comments about Cruz’ nationality and his religion, the gloves may come off as we get to crunch time.

6. Rubio is the obvious choice for establishment types

With Rubio comfortably tagging along at third place in Iowa and New Hampshire, there’s likely to be a rush of voters to his camp should Trump or Cruz’ campaigns start to come apart.

As all but the quietest commentators have been predicting this will ultimately happen, eyes are pointed at more traditional political characters to see who will receive the former Trump and Cruz supporters. Although there are some pretty significant attack ads coming out of Bush and others’ camps, aimed at taking down the Florida senator, it’s likely that he’ll be able to weather this storm. If that’s the case, positioned at third in both states, Rubio could start to build momentum as others fade in the later stages of the campaign.

7. National Security isn’t everything, but it almost is

With 61% and 66% of voters in Iowa and New Hampshire respectively ranking national security as their most important issue, it’s no wonder that Republican candidates have been rushing to “out-tough” one another on the campaign trail. It’s unclear who security plays best for in this campaign, but another ill timed terrorist incident or national security event could change the rules of the game completely.