Five Days to Iowa: Second Choice, Organization, & Three Ways to Win

In an effort to better predict the results and impact of Monday’s Iowa caucuses, today I plan on taking a closer look at the contest’s unique dynamics. Three factors in particular need a great deal of examination:

  1. Voters’ “second choice” candidates are not important in your normal primary, but in a caucus those can be huge. If after the first round of caucus voting a voter’s “first choice” is deemed unviable — which usually means short of 15% support in a precinct — then that voter must re-align with a viable candidate or leave the caucus. Those realignments make a big difference in overall caucus results.
  2. A campaign’s organization is particularly important in a caucus. Though primary results are certainly impacted by what demographics turn out to vote, predicting the turnout of those demographics in a primary is much easier than predicting caucus turnout. Primary polls are open all day and often have early voting, but caucuses are in a tight window on a cold night. A campaign’s ability to get its supporters to turn out to a caucus and then coordinate them while in there is more paramount in a caucus than a primary.
  3. Finally, for the first time ever, there will be three different winning categories made public. A candidate might sweep all three — but not necessarily. Considering how the Expectations Game and Spinnability can impact momentum after Iowa, this new paradigm deserves a closer look as well.

Let’s do it.

Continue reading “Five Days to Iowa: Second Choice, Organization, & Three Ways to Win”