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I have no idea what the result of next week’s Iowa caucus will be. In fact, I have no predictions of any value to make.
The Iowa caucuses of 2020 are one of the most unpredictable presidential primary contests in history, thanks to two unusual dynamics taking place in the same election. First, there are an unusual number of Democrats polling at around the minimum threshold to receive delegates, which is much more complex in a caucus (like Iowa) than a primary (like New Hampshire). Second, the rules of the Iowa caucus have been amended recently to make that delegate threshold much more important. Combining these two elements will make for an unusually volatile race that will be unpredictable no matter how good the polling is.
Junkies - Primaries - Candidate - Minimum - %
Many political junkies are aware that in Democratic presidential primaries, a candidate needs a minimum of 15% in order to receive delegates. Win 16% of the vote in New Hampshire and you get delegates – win 14% in New Hampshire and you get nothing. Thus, being between 10% and 20% is a very precarious position. Out of 6 polls taken in Iowa this January so far, Sanders was in that position in 2 polls, Biden in 2 polls, Klobuchar in 2 polls, Buttigieg in 5, and Warren in all 6.
Traditionally, Iowa has not directly reported vote totals. The results reported on Election Day were the aggregated results of hundreds upon hundreds of smaller caucuses in Iowa, which sent the results of each caucus to the County Convention, which then selected the delegates for the District Convention, which chose the actual delegates for the Democratic National Convention. As a result, we historically have not gotten a popular vote result. However, excluding candidates who fail to make viability (such as Martin O’Malley in 2016), the delegates are largely...
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