A successful ground game is crucial in Iowa because of the state’s complicated method of caucus voting, but the Trump campaign has fallen behind some of its own benchmarks.
Mr. Trump’s Iowa director predicted that he would recruit a leader for each of the state’s 1,681 Republican precincts by Thanksgiving. Instead, the first major training session for precinct leaders, heavily promoted in emails and conference calls, drew only about 80 people to West Des Moines last weekend, with about 50 participating online.
The demographics of Trump supporters reveal his challenges: They are younger, lack a college degree and are less likely to be evangelical Christians, according to polling. The profile of past caucusgoers is the opposite: most are 45 and up, college educated and evangelical.
It was clear from the training that the Trump campaign was only beginning to identify supporters, and that its volunteers could face unique challenges in going door to door.
“Just listen to them,” a Trump staff member advised volunteers on how to elicit and record issues on voters’ minds. “If they’re concerned about the border,” he said, mark down immigration. “If they’re worried about space aliens stealing the fillings out of their teeth, it’s ‘other.’