US Election 2016: Donald Trump's terrible night in Iowa in one chart

Donald Trump did not win the Iowa caucuses as expected, and only just beat Marco Rubio to avoid coming third.

If you have tuned in to the 2016 Presidential primaries for the first time today, the reaction to the Iowa caucuses may seem bewildering.

Ted Cruz, a man hated by the Republican establishment and a senator for only three years, has beaten Jeb Bush, who has spent nearly $100 million winning a few thousand votes.

Donald Trump, a pantomime act six months ago, beat everyone but Cruz, including Republican golden boy Marco Rubio.

Half a dozen well-established names, from Bush to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, as well as Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, the two previous winners of the Iowa caucuses, have all been soundly beaten.

Instead, Cruz, Trump and Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, have won more than 60 per cent of the Iowa vote between them.

But tonight Trump isn't a winner nor Rubio a loser. Expectations are everything, and Trump was expected to win, while Rubio was predicted to be a distant third.

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As the graphic above shows, which tracks how all the candidates fared in the polls leading up to Iowa, Trump was expected to win around 29 per cent of the vote tonight.

Iowa Caucuses - Trump's post-result speech

Rubio was only expected to win 17 per cent.

In fact, Trump has only won 24 per cent, with Rubio winning 23 per cent.

A week ago Trump led Rubio by more than 20 points in the polls. Surveys picked up a late surge for Rubio, but he did even better on election night than these late polls had implied.

Ted Cruz is tonight's most obvious winner, and he's shown he can turn out his vote, with Republican turnout way up on 2012. More than 180,000 voted in the Republican caucuses, a 50 per cent increase since 2012.

Cruz and Rubio now move to New Hampshire, where Trump has a huge lead in the polls, but that may rapidly slip.

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It could be as soft as his Iowa lead proved to be tonight.