There's less to victory in Iowa than many pundits would have us
Added 2921 days ago in Opinion — Now that politicians and political junkies are counting down to the Iowa presidential caucuses in weeks and days, you hear a lot of speculation about the "president-maker" Iowa caucuses being so important.

How important are they? As Al Smith, a Democrat who lost the presidential race in 1928, liked to say, "Let's look at the record."

The Iowa caucuses have been making newspaper headlines since 1972, sometimes front pages. The winning Democrat that year was Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine. He wasn't nominated.

In 1976, Jimmy Carter won Iowa in January and the nation in November. In 1984 the winner was former Vice President Walter Mondale. He was nominated but lost the general election in a wipeout.

In 1988, Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri won but wasn't nominated. Ditto Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa in 1992.

In 2000, Vice President Al Gore won there and was nominated but lost in November. In 2004, the same happened to Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

As for 1980 and 1996, both Democratic winners of the caucus in those years were presidential incumbents, Carter and Bill Clinton. Clinton won the presidency; Carter lost to Ronald Reagan.

So, based on the historical evidence (and leaving aside elections where there was an incumbent president), on Jan. 4 the front-page headline should read: "(Fill in the Blank) Wins Iowa Democratic Caucus/Has Odds of 6-to-1 Against Winning Presidency."

On the Republican side, only one Iowa caucus winner out of five since 1976 (again, excluding incumbents) went on to win the presidency: Ge

Posted by JBeal
84 Votes
In your opinion do you believe the Iowa Caucus is important or a true representation of national consensus?
Yes, has been a good leading indicator in the past
No, they're a thrill for the state of Iowa to generate money
This is not a scientific survey, click here to learn more. Results may not total 100% due to rounding and voting descrepencies.
User Comments
Posted 2921 days ago
0 up votes, 0 down votes
Clearly, there's less to victory in Iowa than many politicians, pundits, and media would like us to believe. The big states with many more delegates in the national conventions and many more electoral votes than Iowa are what naturally counts. If that does not convince you then look at the statistics since 1972, without excluding incumbents. Candidates should save their money for the states that count.
Posted 2918 days ago
0 up votes, 0 down votes
OK - of course a win in Iowa does not lock a candidate into their parties ticket. But let's get serious here. I welcome anyone who believes this premise to contact their candidate and encourage them to move on downstream and focus on NY/CA/TX/FL. Clearly if they can just win those they would have a lock on the nomination. Any takers?
Posted 2918 days ago
0 up votes, 0 down votes
Overrated. Anyway it goes in Iowa it has no bearing on the rest of the country.I agree with kdecoster you've got to be part of it.
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