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Tag Archives: Iowa
As 9:00 p.m. rolls around, enough states have been closed long enough that exit polls become less significant, and raw vote count becomes more significant. If the exit polls and early returns in the state had been clear enough, those states would have already been called. The question at this point in time is which if any of the contested states and races have been called. While enough states remain that technically nobody will have yet won the White House, or the majority in the Senate, or the majority in the House, it should be becoming clear whether it is simply a matter of waiting for the polls to close in “safe” states or if it is going to be a long night waiting for the last votes in a handful of states. While the race is not yet over, the next two hours should determine the winners.
9:00 p.m. (EST) — The remaining polls close in Michigan, Kansas, South Dakota, and Texas. Additionally, the polls close in Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Colorado and Wisconsin are the last of the “at risk” states that are part of Secretary Clinton’s easiest path to 270. Arizona and Nebraska 2 join Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, and Maine 2 in the batch of electoral votes that Trump absolutely needs to get to 270.
Saturday were the county conventions in Iowa. On the Republican side, the national convention delegates were allocated by the preference vote in the precinct delegates; so the county convention is merely about who will go to the state and congressional district conventions to choose the actual delegates (which might matter if the Republicans end up with a deadlocked convention). On the Democratic side, the results of the precinct meetings (as reported to the media) are an estimate of what will happen at the county meeting, and the county meetings can change things. While there appear to have been some changes at the county level, it appears that the bottom line has not changed.
Last week, I looked at the results of the precinct conventions and identified fourteen counties in which (primarily due to O’Malley and uncommitted delegates), the final delegate count was ambiguous. Based on the results posted by the Iowa Democratic Party, in addition to these fourteen counties, there appear to have been nine other counties that gave a reminder on Saturday that delegates are technically free to change their preferences between each round of the process. (By my original estimate, a total of eighteen projected delegates changed hands, but it is possible that my counts of the delegates to the county convention included some mathematical errors.)The most interesting of these nine counties was Mills County.
In Mills County, after the precinct meetings, Clinton had twenty-three delegates to the county convention and Bernie Sanders had twenty-two delegates. With the county convention electing five delegates to the state convention, the projected split was three Clinton delegates to two Sanders delegates. However, after the county convention, Clinton emerged with two delegates, Sanders with one, and Martin O’Malley and uncommitted also got one delegate each. It would be interesting to hear news reports out of Mills County on how this happened. Given that it takes seven delegates to be viable, it is theoretically possible that the Sanders delegates decided to split up 8-7-7 to “steal” a state convention delegate. There is also the possibility that in some of the precincts, O’Malley or uncommitted voters “got” a county convention delegate in exchange for joining one of the other candidates when the O’Malley/uncommitted groups were too small to be viable. and reverted to their original preference (but it is hard seeing that many delegates having secret preferences).
While the parties did not have much choice about including Iowa and New Hampshire in the window of early states, the theory behind the early states is that all four are small enough and different enough to help narrow the field. While winning is nice, the real goals of the campaigns are: 1) to seem viable enough that supporters (both voters and donors) don’t go looking elsewhere; and 2) to meet targets for delegates. Candidates who are unable to show signs of life quickly find that their campaigns have no life.
One of the thing that makes it difficult to forecast primaries (as opposed to general elections) is that people tend to make last second decisions. This problem is not because primary voters are more indecisive than general election voters, but mostly because they have more choices. In the general, 96% of the voters know well in advance whether they will be voting Republican or Democrat. In a primary, voters have to choose which Republican or which Democrat will best represent them and their party in the general election. That choice involves every voter deciding what is more important — pragmatism or ideology.
In less than four days, voters in Iowa will head to some location in their precincts and cast the first official votes of the 2016 presidential campaign. Both because of its small size and because of the unique compositions of the respective parties in Iowa (compared to the national parties), winning in Iowa is not essential to winning either party’s nomination. What does matter is how Iowa sets up the rest of the race.