Donald Trump’s Debate No-Show Might Have Sunk Him in Iowa by Ben Geier @FortuneMagazine February 2, 2016, 11:52 AM EST E-mail Tweet Facebook Linkedin Share icons Last night, Donald Trump came in second to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the Iowa caucuses, a somewhat disappointing result for the New York businessman in the first contest of the 2016 Republican nominating process. Some, though, are saying that Trump only has himself to blame. Last week, Trump skipped the final Republican debate before the caucuses — one moderated by his nemesis Megyn Kelly — because he felt he’d receive unfair and biased questions. Fox News commentators think this played a major part in his second place result. Dana Perino, a Fox News personality and former press secretary for the Bush White House, said that she “thinks there is a direct result from the debate last Thursday. We knew that from 2012 that about 45 percent of people decided after the last debate in 2012,” according to Media Matters. Fox’s John Roberts thought similarly, saying “Trump was not there. Many late deciders may have looked at that and said, you know, I’ll go a different way.” Of course, Fox news commentators have a vested interest in making it seems like Fox News debates are very important — ratings are what pay their salaries, after all. Others agreed, though, that Trump may have shot himself in the foot by allowing his rivals Cruz and Marco Rubio to get exposure without being there himself. Writing for the Huffington Post, political scientist John A. Tures pointed out that Trump’s poll numbers fell following the debate, an indicator of the caucus loss that was coming.