Iowa Caucus Live Blog/Open Thread



Hey Sky Dancers!

Here’s a fresh thread to discuss the happenings in Iowa tonight. I guess no one really knows what will happen in Iowa, because the caucus system is kind of nuts–especially on the Democratic side.

Earlier today, Al Giordano, a political writer who was very successful in predicting the results of primaries in 2008 and who in 2007 wrote an article explaining how Barack Obama would beat Hillary Clinton for the 2008 nomination, released his predictions for tonight:

Republicans: Donald Trump 33%, Ted Cruz 26%, Marco Rubio 18%, Ben Carson 8% and no one else above 5%.

Democrats: Clinton 54%, Sanders 36%, O’Malley 10%

I summarized Giordano’s reasoning in the comment on the previous thread:

He says there are indications that Bernie’s on-the-ground organization is weak. See Yahoo story I posted above, his campaign mgr. knows little about the caucus system apparently.

Sanders’ support is concentrated in three counties that are home to universities. In Iowa you have to win delegates in every district; you can’t just win big in 2 or 3 and come in first. Hillary has people on the ground in every district.

If college students live in Iowa they have to return to their home districts to caucus. That may be difficult because they have classes today and there is a blizzard on the way.

More problems for Bernie. The turnout is not expected to be huge–it will be “normal” about like 2004. He has been trying to damp down expectations for days, so I think he knows he’s not going to win.

FiveThirtyEight is giving Hillary a 67% chance to win Iowa. Of course this is all speculation for now. As they say, it will all come down to turn out.

Here’s Nate Silver on how hard it is to poll Iowa.

It’s common for pundits to recite ass-covering phrases like “it all comes down to turnout” or “anything could happen” on the eve of a big election. If you’ve been following FiveThirtyEight over the years, you know it’s not our style to do that. Instead, we issue probabilistic forecasts, which can sometimes seem quite confident: We had Barack Obama as a 90.9 percent favorite to beat Mitt Romney on the eve of the 2012 general election, for example.

So let’s get a couple of things straight before the results start trickling in from Iowa tonight:

  • It all comes down to turnout.
  • Anything could happen.

All right, not absolutely anything could happen. Martin O’Malley is not going to win the Democratic caucuses. Donald Trump will probably not finish behind Carly Fiorina.

But could Marco Rubio win the Iowa caucuses despite not having led a single poll there? Sure. Rick Santorum did that exact thing four years ago.

Could Trump slip all the way to third place? Entirely plausible. But he could also get upwards of 40 percent of the vote and double his nearest rival’s total.

Ben Carson in second place? Rand Paul in third? The odds are against it — but equally strange things have happened in Iowa before.

Much more detail at the link.

I thought this was interesting from Joan Walsh at The Nation: Is Donald Trump Even Trying in Iowa? Walsh went to a Trump rally this morning, and found it underwhelming.

Waterloo, Iowa, Monday morning. Jeb Bush would have loved it. It may not tell us anything about caucus turnout—it was a workday morning, after all—but it was a strange moment nonetheless.

Trump acknowledged the low turnout early, calling the diminutive crowd “our very close friends,” then saying, “I’m gonna get out of here fast,” for his next event in Cedar Rapids. The crowd groaned, and Trump reassured them. “No, no, we’re gonna take care of you. Win, lose or draw, I love you all.” He gave a perfunctory 35-minute speech at what I can’t even call a rally.

Like an aging rock star, Trump did a medley of his hits. “We’ll build a big, beautiful wall.” “Common Core is gone.” “The Second Amendment is not going to be chipped away at.” “We’re gonna protect Christianity. You know Christianity is under siege folks, it’s under siege.”

According to Walsh there was zero organizing going on.

Remarkably, there was no evidence of organizing even at this caucus-day rally; the campaign was selling its famous gear in the lobby, but not a soul was attempting to identify voters and make sure they know where their caucus site is.

I met Trump supporters who promised to caucus nonetheless. Michele Foley, an independent Mary Kay director, says she’s never caucused before but she will tonight for Trump. “I’m tired of where the country is going. I’m voting to take the country back, I’m not happy with anything Obama has done.” Still, Foley hasn’t been contacted by the campaign; she went to the website herself and figured out the caucus rules and where to show up at 7.

Is it possible Trump doesn’t really want to win?

Bernie Sanders has been trying to tamp down his supporters’ expectation for tonight. You have to wonder what his internal polls look like. He has also been saying he doesn’t expect a big turnout and that is what he would need to win.

Iowa Starting Line: Is The Sanders Campaign Prepping A “Blame Iowa” Strategy In Case Of A Loss?

With the most recent Des Moines Register poll showing Sanders still three points back from Clinton, and the possibility that Sanders’ support is too heavily concentrated in certain precincts (problematic since each has a set number of delegates), there seems to be growing concern among Sanders supporters that he’ll come up short in his upset bid in Iowa. That seems to have brought forward a series of Sanders-pushed stories that suggest a trend in which the campaign may try to undermine the legitimacy of the results.

The most recent attempt came last night when Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver spun a sinister-sounding story to Yahoo News about Clinton staffers possibly serving as precinct captains or volunteer leaders, based on a letter a Sanders supporter received. Weaver suggested it could mean that Clinton is “infiltrating the caucuses with out-of-state paid staffers,” and possibly even try to get counted in the caucus.

That argument, however, is utterly ridiculous. Weaver’s so-called proof was a letter telling a voter the precinct leader for their caucus was a paid staffer from Clinton’s campaign. This is actually a regular practice by all campaigns. In certain precincts where they may not have identified a precinct captain, they’ll send a staffer there to organize the room or, at the very least, greet supporters, but not to caucus themselves. And in this situation the Clinton staffer was simply a placeholder when the mailer went out – they later identified a local precinct captain.

Weaver claimed to not know enough about caucus rules to know whether this was allowed or not. Weaver knows the rules. He’s just hoping enough journalists and those outside Iowa don’t so that they’ll think something sounds fishy….

A separate story pushed by a top Sanders aide last week, however, veered into borderline tin-foil hat conspiracy theory. In an interview with MSNBC, Sanders’ top Iowa adviser Pete D’Alessandro suggested that Microsoft, which developed the caucus reporting software this year, might somehow intentionally fabricate the results to give Clinton a win. If you are looking for a software that you can do pdf files online, visit

“You’d have to ask yourself why they’d want to give something like that away for free,” D’Alessandro told MSNBCon suspicions they had about Microsoft’s involvement in the caucus process. Other Sanders aides were said to have brought up concerns about Microsoft employees who have donated to Clinton in the past.

That’s quite the accusation. The idea that Microsoft that would risk its reputation in a massive way by fraudulently skewing the most important early state result is pure imagination. It would also be a surprising amount of forethought for Microsoft, considering they started talks for the caucus reporting job about six months before Sanders announced his campaign.


You can get live updates at The New York Times and The LA Times, and of course Twitter is a great source of information.

Where are you following the story? What are you hearing? Let us know your thoughts in the comment thread. I for one am psyched up!


252 Comments on “Iowa Caucus Live Blog/Open Thread”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Here’s hoping Hillary wins big!

  2. bostonboomer says:


  3. madamab says:

    Hello Skydancers! The moment we’ve been waiting for is finally here. Happy Iowa Caucus, and may the best woman win! (Sorry Carly – that ain’t you :-))

  4. dakinikat says:

    Cruz and Trump are neck and neck. Rubio is in a distant 3rd. One percent

    Clinton is way ahead with 4% in.

  5. Fannie says:

    Keeping my eyes on Rubio………I think he’ll come up to second place.

  6. bostonboomer says:


  7. Fannie says:

    I am on CNN, and wow, they are clapping, and shouting, yay, Hillary.

  8. Fannie says:

    Let’s get happy, and stay happy!

  9. Fannie says:

    Go home Carly Fiorina………1%……….

  10. bostonboomer says:

    Hillary won in Des Moines! That’s Bernie territory.

  11. janicen says:

    Trump is doing better than I would have expected.

  12. bostonboomer says:


  13. bostonboomer says:

    Dana Bash looks like she’s about to cry.

  14. bostonboomer says:


  15. bostonboomer says:

    You might be right, Fannie. Giordano is saying Cruz could well fall behind Rubio. Trump is beating Cruz in the Evangelical vote.

  16. roofingbird says:

    I don’t have TV to watch this, so I’m using the WAPO map. Lucas Co is 100% in with Clinton 60%, Sanders 40%, O’Malley 0%

  17. Beata says:

    Democratic results by county as they are reported:

  18. Fannie says:

    Tell you what, I hope this isn’t like the last time, and we have to wait days to figure it all out.

  19. mablue2 says:

    This is a better site to check the result for the Dems. The yakkers on TV just bother the hell out of me:

    I just hate the IA caucus and the fact that a state where the Dems electorate is 92% white gets to be this important.

  20. roofingbird says:

    It says the reporting generally is 42.5 % and Clinton is ahead at 51%

  21. bostonboomer says:

    Hillary seems to be coming out on top in all the college towns so far.

  22. Fannie says:

    Wow, Rubio took on Ankley, final vote I think

  23. Fannie says:

    Anderson screwed up and said 50% vote in for republicans……….NOT, it is 25%

  24. roofingbird says:

    In Clinton 54% reporting and Scott Co 25% reporting Sanders just overtook Clinton.

  25. roofingbird says:

    Audubon Co 100%, Clinton.

  26. roofingbird says:

    Taylor Co 100% Clinton

  27. roofingbird says:

    Louisa Co 100% Clinton

  28. roofingbird says:

    Lucas Co 100% Clinton

  29. roofingbird says:

    No calls for Sanders yet.

  30. roofingbird says:

    Right now Cruz is on top.

  31. roofingbird says:

    In Allamakee Co Clinton just overtook Sanders

  32. bostonboomer says:

    We need to realize that this will be spun as a win for Bernie no matter how much Hillary wins by.

  33. roofingbird says:

    Clinton is still 51% to Sanders 48%, O’Malley 0%

  34. Fannie says:

    I am listening to Anderson Cooper, and really got pissed off with Van Jones, saying if Elizabeth Warren were in the race, Hillary would be gone. WTF? They go on talking about how tricky the math is, horsehit, it’s bad math for Bernie!

  35. roofingbird says:

    Adams Co 100% Clinton

  36. roofingbird says:

    Monona 100% Clinton

  37. Fannie says:

    99 counties roof.

  38. roofingbird says:

    Some Co got taken off the board here. I’m, only showing 7

  39. Fannie says:

    Rubio, highest he has been in any poll….moving on up.

  40. roofingbird says:

    Buchanan 100% Clinton

  41. bostonboomer says:


  42. roofingbird says:

    Sanders is inching up, Clinton 51%, Sanders 49%, O”Malley1%. Clinton needs to have enough delegates that she doesn’t have to worry about O’Malley’s up for grabs.

  43. Fannie says:

    Hey Wolf, it’s not early yet, it’s 2/3 over. Damn man.

  44. roofingbird says:

    Greene Co 100% Clinton

  45. mablue2 says:

    I think this is the end for O’Malley. What’s the point? 1%, no money in the bank, in fact he’s in debt.

  46. bostonboomer says:


  47. roofingbird says:

    Woodbury Co . Clinton overtook Sanders at 44%

  48. bostonboomer says:

    Silver saying Cruz is on track to win.

  49. roofingbird says:

    9 counties are within 1% of each other at around 73% reporting

  50. roofingbird says:

    Davis Co 100% Sanders

  51. roofingbird says:

    Harrison 100% Sanders

  52. Fannie says:

    Rubio is up 21%

  53. bostonboomer says:


  54. roofingbird says:

    Someone voted uncommitted, I have no idea what that means.

  55. roofingbird says:

    Sioux Co 100% Sanders

  56. Beata says:


    Bernie has a big lead in Jefferson County, home of Maharishi University of Management.

  57. Fannie says:

    Trump caused the record turnout for GOP……………Rubio is now 22%

  58. roofingbird says:

    Emmett 100% Clinton

  59. bostonboomer says:


  60. roofingbird says:

    Marion co 100% Clinton

  61. bostonboomer says:

    Sanders is only doing slightly better than Hillary in the College areas. Giordano says that’s “brutal for him.”

  62. roofingbird says:

    Cherokee co 100% Sanders

  63. bostonboomer says:

    CNN says O’Malley will suspend his campaign as of tonight.

  64. roofingbird says:

    4 counties are still tied.

  65. roofingbird says:

    O’ Brian Co 100% clinton

  66. roofingbird says:

    Grundy 100% Sanders

  67. roofingbird says:

    I don’t like how Sanders is ahead in the Cedar Rapids and Davenport area, those are large populations

  68. roofingbird says:

    Hamilton co 100% clinton

  69. roofingbird says:

    Floyd Co 100% Clinton

  70. roofingbird says:

    Ida Co 100% Clinton. It’s still 50% Clinton, Sanders 49% overall.

  71. roofingbird says:

    Guthrie Co 100% Clinton

  72. roofingbird says:

    Delaware Co 100% Clinton

  73. Fannie says:

    How many more white Christian states are they going to run in?

  74. roofingbird says:

    80.6% reporting Dems, 81.1% reporting Repugs with Cruz still at 285 to Trumps 24 and Rubio came up one to 23%

  75. roofingbird says:

    Carroll Co 100% Clinton

  76. bostonboomer says:

    Giordano saying Clinton underperformed and this will be seen as a moral victory for Bernie. Well, I expected that . . . .

    • Fannie says:

      Yep, we all know that these two states, Iowa, and New Hampshire are easier for Sanders, he ain’t seen nothing yet.

  77. Fannie says:

    I wonder if Trump will be showing up at the next debate, with Cruz on one side, and Rubio on the other?………………….that’s some hot shit right there.

  78. mablue2 says:

    I think Donald Trump will start going after Rubio tomorrow morning.

  79. bostonboomer says:

    So Cruz beat Trump. And Hillary barely beat Sanders. Ugh.

    • Fannie says:

      I was thinking flip, but Bernie’s going to cry, cause she’ll get more delegates.

    • mablue2 says:

      Yep! Although this is Sanders’s 3rd best state (again demographics), the press is going to bury Hillary for the next coup0le of days.

      • Fannie says:

        Always do that, but she threw a knock out to Sanders tonight.

      • William says:

        Of course, and wait until she loses in New Hampshire. But it is just media tactics. When there are primaries in big states with various ethnicities, she will do far better. If she wins Iowa, that is good, no matter what the media tries to make of it. I did think that this would be close, and of course the media will spin it against Hillary, what else is new? But the terrain is vastly better for her once we get past the New Hampshire primary.

        • Fannie says:

          She won, and on to NH…………I’ll never forget 2008, NH, I was so very sick, in bed, and watching when she won, I jumped up and said, my god for the first time in my life, women are a coalition, and we have power at the polls. Never ever forget that.

  80. bostonboomer says:

    How is Trump going to deal with losing? Interesting.

  81. William says:

    Moral victory in a caucus state. Doesn’t do him any good when it gets to real primaries outside of New Hampshire.

  82. Fannie says:

    Cruz declared victory…………Hillary declared victory!

  83. Fannie says:

    Hillary still has votes out in Des Moines where she is strong.

  84. roofingbird says:

    Palo Alto Co 100% Clinton. Still 50-49% Who called it?

  85. roofingbird says:

    Clayton and Worth 100% Sanders

  86. janicen says:

    Van Jones just said he was neutral. I laughed out loud.

  87. bostonboomer says:

    Hillary should just skip NH and go down and campaign in South Carolina.

  88. mablue2 says:

    I think the GOP candidate I can stand the least is Rubio. The guy is such a phony. Ugh!

  89. Beata says:

    Marco Rubio is a horrible speaker. He reminds me of Wally Cleaver running for high school class president except Wally was more likable.

  90. bostonboomer says:

    Trump on CNN

  91. roofingbird says:

    It’s 50-50 Clinton Trump according to Wapo

  92. roofingbird says:

    Chickasaw Co 100% Clinton

  93. Beata says:

    Trump says he loves the people of Iowa. Congratulates “Ted” on his victory. Sounds only slightly sarcastic.

  94. Fannie says:

    Special Request…………….Beata give us a song, always like your selection!

    • Beata says:

      Onward we go!

      • Fannie says:

        Yup, that’s a good one. I have his Chronicles CD in my car, and luv, luv, luv him. Arc of a Diver, my favorite. He was into it all, piano, guitar, drums, and played with the best, Clapton, and Ginger Baker, and my favorite Traffic.

        Good selection Beata……..luv it.

  95. roofingbird says:

    Jones, Union, Buena Vista, Montgomery Co Sanders

  96. Fannie says:

    Everybody giving victory speech……….except Trump.

  97. NW Luna says:

    I hate the caucus system. Usually the turnout is less than 5% of the voters, not to mention you don’t count if you’re out of the area, have to work, can’t get childcare/transportation, or are sick. The results get played all out of proportion to what’s important in the general election.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Agree. It sucks. I was really hoping Hillary will beat expectations and maybe affect NH. Not likely now until the debate influences people or Bernie goes really negative.

  98. bostonboomer says:

    That was very disappointing. This actually is a win for Bernie.

  99. bostonboomer says:


  100. bostonboomer says:

    50.1 – 49.3 Hillary. Polk County still coming in.

  101. bostonboomer says:

    Oh no. Sanders wants to see the raw data. Thinks he won.

  102. roofingbird says:

    Had to fix dinner for the gang, but right now Wapo says its 50-50 655 to 652

  103. Beata says:


    Clinton 49.8%

    Sanders 49.6%

    93% of precincts reporting

  104. roofingbird says:

    50-50 but Clinton 657-653

  105. roofingbird says:

    Council Bluffs Cedar Rapids and Davenport all still Sanders but in contention.

  106. Ron4Hills says:

    I think she is going to get cheated.

  107. Ron4Hills says:

    They will keep playing with the number until she is behind.

  108. roofingbird says:

    50-50, 661Clinton/657 Sanders

  109. roofingbird says:

    50-50, 663-660, I hate this

  110. Fannie says:

    Here we go (Bernie), a political revolution……..let me put that in my Hope Chest.

  111. NW Luna says:

    I am disappointed. I can’t believe that many people really think Sanders would be a better Prez.

    Must remind self that caucus goers are about 2%-4% of the voting public.

  112. roofingbird says:

    Clinton just overtook in Poweshiek Co at 90%

  113. roofingbird says:

    Sanders overtook in Cerro Gordo at 96.2 %

  114. roofingbird says:

    Pottawamie co 100% Sanders, that’s Council Bluffs 665-662

  115. roofingbird says:

    Clinto got Debuque and Humbolt 667-663

  116. roofingbird says:

    23 counties leaning Clinton 14 leaning Sanders, 2 ties

  117. Beata says:

    Hillary is still leading in Polk County ( Des Moines ) 53.5% to 45.7% with 87% reporting.

  118. roofingbird says:

    Clearly standing in groups and trying to convince someone to come to your side takes more time than standing in one group and holding up your hand.

  119. roofingbird says:

    Clinton Got Bremer 668-665

  120. roofingbird says:

    Calhoun Co tied at 50-50

  121. roofingbird says:

    669-666 11 counties still leaning Sanders, 22 Clinton one tie

  122. roofingbird says:

    672-668, Scott Co went Sanders

  123. roofingbird says:

    Polk Co 53-46% in favor of Clinton, so that’s still good.

  124. roofingbird says:

    Linn Co with Cedar Rapids 52-47 for Sanders

  125. roofingbird says:

    8 counties leaning Sanders, 22 leaning Clinton one tie

  126. roofingbird says:

    688-685 Poweshiek overtaken and won by Sanders, Clinton wins Appanoose

  127. NW Luna says:

    DES MOINES — Hillary Clinton took the stage here at Drake University with no introduction and no definitive victory to call her own. But the music that blasted through the speakers said it all: “Fight Song.”

    And a fight this has been in Iowa against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the populist crusader against moneyed interests who unexpectedly became a formidable opponent in the Democratic primary.

    As Clinton spoke, the race was still too close to call. Her aides and allies declared victory over Sanders, but Clinton only thanked supporters for staving off an outright upset.

    “I stand here tonight breathing a big sigh of relief — thank you, Iowa,” she said.

    At least no “overwhelming” turnout for Sanders.

    Night all. Tomorrow, onward!

  128. roofingbird says:

    4 counties leaning Sanders, 10 counties leaning Clinton.

  129. NW Luna says:

    11m ago 01:05
    Democratic result scrambled by staffing gap

    Why is the Democratic count taking so long? There’s talk tonight of staffing issues…

    — Dan Roberts (@RobertsDan)
    February 2, 2016

    Apparently reason we are waiting for 90 Iowa precincts to return results is Democratic party failed to staff them. Asking campaigns to help.

    2m ago 01:16

    The pageant of democracy, a rapt audience, empowered collegians and what sounds like a big time hot mess in certain precincts the Hawkeye state:

    — Betsy Woodruff (@woodruffbets)
    February 2, 2016

    @hunterw The site I was at was total chaos. College students running things who had no idea what they were doing

  130. NW Luna says:


    Carson accuses rivals of “lies and dirty tricks”

    Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon, secured 9.31% of the vote in Iowa this evening, for a fourth-place finish roughly in line with pollster predictions.

    The Carson campaign made the baffling announcement earlier this evening that the candidate would return home to Florida tonight, instead of proceeding to campaign in the ensuing state to vote, New Hampshire. Then Carson will visit Washington, DC, the campaign said.

  131. roofingbird says:

    apparently Buena Vista changed to a tie. Henry also tied. So that’s 3 tied counties at 100%

  132. roofingbird says:

    4 Counties leaning Sanders 6 counties leaning Clinton.

  133. roofingbird says:

    Fremont is still only reporting 80%. If it gets down to1 county it could be all night.

  134. William says:

    Roofingbird, thank you for all the efforts. It sounds like some strange things might be going on at the very end, with these Hillary leading counties switching at the last minute, while there are staffing issues.

    • roofingbird says:

      Yeah, something is up. Polk Co. has been at 53 Clinton 46 Sanders with 98.9% reporting for some time. It can’t be that hard to come up with another 1.1%

    • roofingbird says:

      Thanks, William. The blizzard is supposed to hit around 5 there. I would think the counters would want out before then. Or maybe it doesn’t fit the news cycle? I can’t see that a single remaining county has increased it’s reporting.

  135. roofingbird says:

    Sanders count is corrected for some reason. Maybe it was the reassigned tie. 696-692

  136. roofingbird says:

    Perry Mason comes on in a few minutes. I can stay awake long enough to check the map for a while. However, I think whoever is up first in the morning is going to have the news. No change.

  137. roofingbird says:

    All counties are in except Polk. Clinton 700 Sanders 695. 50-50%

  138. roofingbird says:

    Polk is 99.4% with Clinton 53% and Sanders 46%.

  139. roofingbird says:

    there is still 1 county out on the Republican side with Rubio in the lead. I think it might create a tie between Rubio and Trump.

  140. roofingbird says:

    I’m going to bed now. I think Polk has 9 delegates. It looks like O’Malley gets 1. I think Sanders and Clinton will each get 4. That will leave the final at 704-699 delegates and O’Malley 9. Both groups will have to lobby O’Malley’s freed delegates hard in order to finalize a win.