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Iowa Caucus Open Thread

George Nassar's picture

We're opening up this post for any and all discussion on the Iowa caucus. I'll keep a running tab of everything that's going on in Iowa in the comments. Click in, and join in with your comments on how it's going.

EDIT: OK, the caucuses have officially started. Our reporter on the ground in Iowa will be giving us regular updates as to how it's progressing. See below for more.

7:00 Early numbers indicate that Clinton and Obama are neck and neck for first on the D side, and Huckabee and Romney on the R side. Detailed numbers in the comments as we get them.

8:10 We're about to hit 50% reporting on the Dem side, so time for another update up here. 47% reporting, Obama 34% Edwards 32% Clinton 32%. Huckabee has 35% of the R polling to Romney's 24%; Thompson, McCain, and Paul are all duking it out for third in the teens. Details and crosstabs below.

8:36 We have 81% of precincts reporting, and it looks like Obama's getting the nod for winner with 36%. The real stories here are the Democratic fight for second place, with Edwards holding the slimmest of leads over Clinton, and the fight for third on the Republican side, which has become a four-way race between Thompson, McCain, Giuliani, and Paul, with four percentage points separating the top from the bottom of that list.

10:00 OK, we have 98% of precincts reporting on the Democratic side. John Edwards still holds second place with 12 votes, but with so few precincts remaining it seems likely that he'll hold that lead. That would make the results on the Democratic side 38% Obama, 30% Edwards, 29% Clinton. The Republican side is currently Huckabee 34%, Romney 25%, Thompson 13% and third over McCain by about 300 votes of 13,000, with 86% of precincts reporting. It also seems likely that he'll hold, though an upset is still possible there. If that occurs, we'll be sure to mention it tomorrow, but that's enough Iowa tracking for one night. Good night, everybody!

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Deal Or Something Else

Biden swears there's no deal with Obama. Likewise, Thompson swears he isn't dropping out, detailed in a post from TPM humorously titled "Fred Yawns for the Finish Line."

Flash

I've downloaded all the political ads I can find from this cycle so far and I have to say every last one of Fred Thompson's make him look like a sleepy hound dog.

Supreme Court Justice Bill Clinton

There's a rumor going 'round that Hillary would appoint Bill to the Supreme Court if there was a vacancy. Some of the comments suggest this is a scare tactic to keep people from voting for Hillary.

Regardless, I want front row seats to that hearing.

The Swingin' Court

I think this would make the Supreme Court way more fun than it is now.

Richardson's Caucusers

Is caucusers even a word? Well it is for this comment!

I wonder if the Richardson caucusers have any endorsements from the campaign as to who to caucus with where Richardson is not viable?

The rumors over at Bleeding Heartland are that Richardson's folks are going to break for Obama where Richardson is not viable.

That could be HUGE if true. I've been very skeptical about Obama's numbers in Iowa because so much of them have relied on first time caucus-goers and college students. Add Richardson's and Biden's caucusers to Obama's support and suddenly that's a whole different picture.

Obama

I think its weird that the story from everyone, including Obama, is that everyone will align with Obama. It isn't totally unlikely, but I would think a dedicated Kucinich voter would be upset at Kucinich telling them to vote for Obama.

I could be wrong, but it seems discordant to me.

Buy it

I had half a mind for a while there to think that the whole "everybody's pledging second-place support for Obama" thing was something out of one of the opposing camps. I mean, really, Richardson pledged his caucusers to Obama? Richardson, the lifelong Clinton fan? Who risks losing his guaranteed nod at Secretary of State if she wins? Smells fishy to me. And what good would this doing that bring in Iowa anyway? It'll spread through national media quickly, sure, but that's of limited effect on short notice compared to boots on the ground, and nobody's canvassing for Kucinich right now and ending their pitch with, "and hey, if it doesn't work out, vote Obama!" It's all mighty suspicious.

Anti-Mormon Calls - From Oregon?

An interesting break in the case of anti-Romney, anti-Mormon calls in New Hampshire from that state's AG, out just a few tantalizing hours before the Iowa caucus starts.

Not Yellow Book, But Little Red Book

Yep, the company's based in the People's Republic of Portland.

Prediction

In this order:

Edwards, Obama, Clinton. (Biden.)

TB Crystal Ball

Obama, Edwards, Clinton. I'm going with the Crystal Ball on this one. Who am I to question its wisdom?

Seconded

I also predict at least one candidate will fall over from exhaustian before the end of the day.

Boots on the ground for Edwards

We have a contributor in Iowa right now, canvassing for the Edwards campaign. The fabulous Angela Brewer reports, "There's a huge amount of energy in the Edwards campaign office. He's working out of the Steelworkers' Union hall, and his sister has been making calls from there and getting really good response. Today is all about getting people who have either verbally or in writing at a rally committed to supporting Edwards, and getting them out to caucus and seeing if there's anything we can help them with, like a ride to the caucus site. We have a lady that fell on the ice earlier, and we'll be sending a steelworker to her house to help her out of her house and through the caucus. All in all, lots of people at phones making sure pledged caucusers show up to caucus."

Caucus

That's a whole lot of caucus

That's dedication

Someone get that lady a campaign button!

More from the Iowa correspondent

The union hall finished canvassing and calling every precinct about a half hour before the caucusing started, leaving a good little bit of time for nailbiting before heading off to caucus.

Angela is also going to be observing a caucus precinct as well. She called in as she was pulling into the precinct location, a local high school, and could find no parking — the school parking lot was completely full, as were the streets for blocks away.

My Precasts

(Prediction + Forecasting) / Reading Way Too Many Caucus Polls =

Edwards, Obama, Clinton, Richardson, Biden.

As for the Dark Side:

Huckabee, Romney, McCain, Thompson, Giuliani.

Edwards 35% Obama

Edwards 35%

Obama 30%

Clinton 26%

Upping the ante

You made it more complicated with your fancy numbers. I think first place has a significant 5-6 point spread between first and second, and second and third are clustered more closely together, with 2-3 points separating.

My two cents (worth far less than you think)

I made my call in a Des Moines pub back in August, and due to my stubbornness I am sticking with it. I forsee Romney and Hillary in 1st, Huckabee and Obama/Edwards in 2nd, McCain and Edwards/Obama in 3rd, and finally Thompson/Guilliani and Richardson in 4th.

What is also important is who can capitalize most on a win or a big 2nd place upset. Unless someone beats Hillary tonight and can seriously roll into Feb 5 with the momentum, I just don't think her campaign can lose in the weeks to come. On the other side, however, its a whole different story. If Huckabee wins 1st, it looks like he just won't have the money, manpower, or organization to do much with his victory. I think the Republican primary is going to be a long and hard one, where even if Guilliani finishes fourth in Iowa, his camp is strong enough to be a real contender through March.

Mixing It Up

What I'm really holding out for are different winners in Iowa than New Hampshire with a mix in South Carolina. And sure, someone's going to win in Nevada, but that's going to have about zero momentum for the winner.

I want a mixed up picture going into Super Tuesday because damnit, I'm tired of having my table set for me by Iowa and New Hampshire! I want my vote to possibly be of importance this time around.

Hope it's Edwards

then Obama, Clinton and Dodd.

Think it will be Obama, Edwards, Clinton and then Richardson.

Reading tea leaves is HARD

Back in 1984, I worked the Iowa caucuses for Gary Hart. Knocking on doors, dropping leaflets, and attending the caucuses themselves (but not voting, of course -- I was a California resident back then). A really interesting experience.

A LOT happens in the caucus hall itself. There's discussion about resolutions, local politics, etc. Then, after the first division into groups for presidential candidates, there's a ton of trying to get people to switch camps, and it's not just picking up the "unviable" groups. If a group is just short of viable, its members will lobby their friends for One More Voter, and sometimes they'll get it. If not, unviable groups will try to merge behind one candidate. If that fails, then their voters will disperse to the already viable groups.

All of this jockeying is PUBLIC. If somebody makes a good enough pitch, it can change a significant number of votes. Will that help Obama, Clinton or Edwards? I don't know, and neither does anybody else! I'm guessing Obama-Clinton-Edwards, but wouldn't be surprised by Edwards-Clinton-Obama.

The only result that would really surprise me is if there aren't any surprises!

Early rumors

Entrance polls for Iowa have Clinton and Obama well above others on the Democratic side, and Huckabee and Romney duking it out for the R's.

Anecdotal turnout reports are nuts. Some precincts are seeing three or four times more people than they saw in 2004. A large proportion of those new voters seems to be women, youth, and independents.

Edwards leads

Senator John Edwards : 34.51%
Senator Hillary Clinton : 31.63%
Senator Barack Obama : 30.34%
Governor Bill Richardson : 1.77%
Senator Joe Biden : 1.38%
Senator Chris Dodd : 0.21%
Uncommitted : 0.16%
Precincts Reporting: 144 of 1781

Obama for a second, then just now Edwards again

Edwards 33%
Obama 32%
Clinton 32%
24% precincts in

Huckabee 36%
Romney 23%
Thompson 14%
15% precincts in

Wow it's close

All of the front runners are in the 30's right now. Richardson has 1 percent.

Crosstabs!

So far, a whopping 56% of Democratic voters per exit polls are attending their first caucus.

22% are between 17 and 29, higher than the 30-44 age spread.

51% of pollers said bringing about change mattered most to them, as opposed to 20% with experience. Of the change pollers, 51% of them supported Obama, vs. 20% for Edwards and 19% for Clinton.

If they want change

then why are they supporting Mr. Consensus? Incongruent

Neck and neck

We're up to 31% reporting.

Obama's got the 33%, Clinton and Edwards 32%.

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