Does the Iowa caucus actually predict the Democratic nomination?

Does the Iowa caucus actually predict the Democratic nomination?

If you've been keeping an eye on recent goings-on in American politics then you'll be well aware that the Iowa caucus happened this weekend.

Voting took place on Sunday but as of Monday morning we still don't have a clear set of results due to "inconsistencies" and errors in the information that was collected

Awkwardly, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders all delivered victory speeches, of sorts, while Joe Biden wrote a complaint to the Iowa Democratic Party after he appeared to have not done as well as predicted.

The farcical scenes will not fill Democrats with hope as they look to topple Donald Trump in the November election.

But given everything, does the Iowa caucus really matter?

Although Iowa is a relatively small state with a population of just 3.1 million, its position as being the first primary of the season can often be crucial for determining who will become the overall nominee in the race

It is usually followed a few days later by the New Hampshire primary and with these two votes combined have traditionally set the tone for what comes next.

Since 1972, the individuals that won the most votes in Iowa then went on to win in seven of the ten contested races. Republicans also hosted their own Iowa caucus with the winner on average gaining the nomination in three of their eight contest races.

That being said, the winner in Iowa doesn't always become the president.

Only Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have won in Iowa and went on to become president.

In 2016 Hillary Clinton was successful and we all saw what happened there. Meanwhile, the Republicans opted for Ted Cruz who would eventually lose out to Trump as he ascended to the presidency.

Interestingly, in 1992 Bill Clinton lost in both Iowa and New Hampshire and still went on to become president, making him a true outlier in this situation.

It can also throw up some surprises. Take, for instance, John Kerry who came from nowhere to win in 2004 and eventually became the nominee before losing to Bush in the election.

There is also the issue of diversity in Iowa (or the lack thereof). The state is 90 per cent white and given candidates like Biden have been polling well with black voters would suggest that he could make a comeback in other states.

That being said, Obama's polling figures amongst black voters increased considerably after he won Iowa in 2008 so take that information with a pinch of salt.

So, overall, Iowa is important for those hoping to become the nominee for their respective party but it isn't the be-all-and-end-all should they fail to win.

Think of it as a pacesetter for the race ahead. Those in front might not necessarily win but the strongest can sometimes survive until the very end.


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