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Michael Barone: Thoughts on the (partial) Iowa Democratic caucus results

3 9 3
05.02.2020

Three additional points on the still (after 36 hours) incomplete results of the Iowa Democratic caucuses.

1. Turnout was low, with total turnout of approximately 170,000, about the same as in 2016 and well below the 220,000 level of 2008. In 2008, high turnout was a good omen for Democrats, as Barack Obama won 53 percent of the vote nationwide and 54 percent in Iowa, which had been an exceedingly close state in both 2000 and 2004. In 2016, in contrast, Hillary Clinton won only 48 percent of the popular vote nationally and a disastrous 42 percent in Iowa in November.

Strong Democratic enthusiasm, optimism about the party’s chances in November, and a large field of candidates were all factors drawing the large turnout in 2008. In 2016 Democratic enthusiasm was less, and at least some Democratic voters had reservations about the only two competitive candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. This year, Democrats had a large field of candidates, larger than in 2008, and a close contest as indicated by pre-caucus polling (which showed four candidates with between 16 and 23 percent). And anti-Trump feeling had boosted Democratic turnout in the 2018 off-year elections.

The relatively low Democratic turnout this year in Iowa........

© Washington Examiner