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Ted Cruz’s campaign is downplaying expectations.

Cruz’s poor performance at last week’s Trump-free debate was a huge missed opportunity for the candidate, but if Cruz loses at tonight’s Iowa Caucuses it won’t be the only cause. According to Real Clear Politics’s aggregate Iowa poll, Cruz peaked in Iowa on January 7, and has been steadily falling more or less ever since. Right now he’s at 23.7 percent—down nearly ten percentage points from his peak and roughly where he was on December 12. 

So it’s perhaps no surprise that Cruz’s campaign is downplaying expectations and looking ahead to South Carolina, Super Tuesday, and beyond: 

This may just be clever narrative-building—it’s safer to make measured predictions than grandiose ones. The Cruz campaign looks like it isn’t just looking ahead to South Carolina, but to the stories that are written tonight and tomorrow if Cruz doesn’t pull ahead in Iowa.