Iowa Caucus Stats 2008

Here’s an interesting stat about Iowa’s Caucus

Total Voter Turnout (approximate):
356,000
Percentage of total vote:
24.5% Obama
20.5% Edwards
19.8% Clinton
11.4% Huckabee (R)

Despite Iowa’s rather convoluted caucus rules on the Democratic side, they still turned out more voters for Democrats than for the more straight-forward Republican process. That is a REALLY an interesting statistic, although there could be a couple different explanations for it, so it’s hard to say what it really indicates.

According to the New York Times:

A record number of Democrats turned out to caucus — more than 239,000, compared with fewer than 125,000 in 2004 — producing scenes of overcrowded firehouses and schools and long lines of people waiting to register their preferences.

The images stood as evidence of the success of Mr. Obama’s effort to reach out to thousands of first-time caucusgoers, including many independent voters and younger voters. The huge turn-out — by contrast, 108,000 Republicans caucused on Thursday — demonstrated the extent to which opposition to President Bush has energized Democrats, and served as another warning to Republicans about the problems they face this November in swing states like this.

I’m hoping that the correct interpretation of this is that middle-of-the-road Republicans stayed home because of Bush and the War, and only the nuts came out for Huckabee, who is, frankly, a nut himself.

I have to disagree a bit with my friend Davodd’s assessment of Iowa as a red state – it’s a pretty big swing state and isn’t a guaranteed win for Republicans. It is almost completely rural and religious, but very well-educated – Iowa’s education system is consistently in the top ten of the country for decades.

He’s right about them never picking a winning Democrat for office – even when a Democrat ultimately wins the White House, they were never a winner in Iowa. But the Iowa winner is always consistently in the top three, I believe. Iowa does have a way of winnowing out the pack. I think the “Democrat winners don’t win in Iowa” is more an effect of the super-early date than an indication of staunch conservative voting in Iowa. After Iowa, people get a better handle on the candidates. But it is a bit foreboding for Obama, though.

I do agree with Davodd that Iowa and other less important states have too big an advantage in selecting candidates. As I said yesterday, I think the system is screwed up and needs to be evened out so that we can get the candidate in the primaries that people actually want to vote for in November.

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