Time for an Iowa caucus election prediction contest

I can’t remember a more volatile Republican presidential campaign in Iowa than this year’s. If you dare to guess how things will play out next Tuesday evening, please enter Bleeding Heartland’s Iowa caucus election prediction contest. Winning this contest brings no financial reward, just bragging rights like those enjoyed by Bleeding Heartland users American007, ModerateIADem and Johannes. Ground rules and five questions to answer are after the jump.  

In order to enter the contest, you must post your predictions as a comment or comments in this thread. Guesses sent to me via e-mail will not be considered.

The deadline for entering the contest is 6 pm central standard time on Tuesday, January 3. It’s ok to change your mind, as long as you post your revised predictions before the deadline.  

1. How many Iowans will participate in the Republican caucuses? For reference, 119,188 votes were reported in the 2008 Iowa Republican caucuses.

2. How many Iowans will participate in the Democratic caucuses? I have not been able to find a report listing the number of participants statewide in 1996, the last time the caucuses were held while a Democratic president was seeking a second term. About 124,000 people participated in the 2004 Democratic caucuses, and about 239,000 participated in the 2008 Democratic caucuses.

3. What percentage of the vote will the winning Republican receive next Tuesday? For reference, here are the winning percentages from past caucuses:

2008 Mike Huckabee (34 percent)

2000 George W. Bush (41 percent)

1996 Bob Dole (26 percent)

1988 Bob Dole (37 percent)

1980 George H.W. Bush (32 percent)

4. In what order will the Republican presidential candidates finish (most votes to least votes)?

5. What percentage of the 1,200 state delegate equivalents on the Democratic side will go to “uncommitted” rather than to President Barack Obama?

UPDATE: I forgot to include a tiebreaker question, so here it is. How many of Iowa’s 99 counties will the overall winner of the GOP caucuses carry?

JANUARY 3 UPDATE: Posted my predictions in the comments below. I think support for Perry and Bachmann will collapse as Santorum has more people speaking on his behalf in the precincts and continues to get favorable press. I think seniors will show up, which is why Romney will do pretty well and Gingrich will outperform his poll numbers (and beat Perry out for 4th).

I think a few Democratic precincts will elect an uncommitted delegate, but not enough to add up to more than a handful of state delegate equivalents. As this post describes, it’s going to be a huge uphill battle to elect uncommitted delegates.

About the Author(s)


  • Predictions

    1. 130,000

    2. 58 thousand

    3.  Ron Paul-23 percent

    4.  Ron Paul-23, Mitt Romney-19, Santorum-17, Gingrich-17, Bachmann-12, Perry-10, Huntsman-2 (Straight guesses)

    5. 5 percent

    Bonus:  12, no idea on that one.  

    • Major Hoople Football Caucus Forecast

      1.) 111,000

      2.)  34,000

      3.) Paul 24%

      4.)  Paul, Romney Sanitorium Gingrich Perry Bachman Batshit Crazy

      5.)  They will report less tha 10%. But by rights it should be > than 25%

      6>) 27.

  • it appears

    that the Seltzer poll indicates large turnout. Caveat: Seltzer’s analysis in the DMR basically says “based on our results, anything can happen.”

    Back to the poll. Their sample is of 601 Republicans/NP who will def/likely to participate drawn from 2527 respondents. The respondents were drawn at random from voter registration rolls of Republicans/NP only. 601 is 23.8% likely/sure to caucus of 2527 respondents, which should be a 46-54 GOP/NP sample. If these assumptions hold, then turnout is a whopping 316875.

    In a separate study, she got 6/200 Dems participating. Add another 19,264 to turnout. 336K.

    This can’t be right. I wish total turnout had been addressed in the write-up but it doesn’t come up at all.

    Even if you assume 601/2527 is based on Republicans only (it’s not), you’d still get close to 146K Republicans.

    • resolved

      Seltzer says that response rates have never been reliable indicators of turnout in caucus polling. Makes sense — it’s more trouble to caucus.

  • Predictions

    1.  203,535 voters

    2.  38,452 voters

    3.  Rick Santorum: 23%

    4.  Santorum: 23%, Paul: 21%, Romney: 19%, Gingrich: 15%, Perry: 10%, Bachmann: 7%, Huntsman: 4%, Roemer: 1%

    5.  15%

    Tiebreaker: 50 counties

  • iacaucus prediction

    1. 125,000

    2. 50,000

    3. 24%

    4. Santo/Romney/Paul/Perry/Gingo/Bachmann

    5. 12%

    6. 37

  • 50K

    1996 Dem caucus attendance.

    Source: Cedar Rapids Gazette, 2-14-1996

    • Public Service Announcement for out-of-state visitors

      don’t let Gov. Terry Branstad confuse you. /snicker

  • Almost inside Beltway prediction

    1. 134,000

    2. 37,000

    3. 27% (Romney)

    4. Romney, Santorum, Paul, Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann, Huntsman

    5. 10%

    6. 54

    • that is similar

      to one of the two scenarios I have in my head. I still can’t decide whether to go with that or the other scenario.

  • Time for choosing

    as the Republicans like to say. This is a combination of guesswork and wishful thinking.

    1. Gosh, no idea. I don’t think evangelicals will come out at 2008 levels. There’ll be some more seniors than what Seltzer found a week ago. Ron Paul will bring in some new caucusers. Adds up to 120K again? It’s hard to imagine that “young undeducated males” will pump this thing up higher.

    2. Going long on this one. I think if BO is serious, he’s going to want to come out of the gate strong, especially in IA, which figures in all but one pathway to re-election. Also, Debbie Wasserman Schultz isn’t touching down for a flaccid 50K. Let’s go with 75K, which is about 2K more than Dem primary 2010 turnout.  

    3. My favorite IA Republican is state senator Joni Ernst, the personification of “Iowa nice,” and she hails from an Iowa town full of good people, Red Oak. She has endorsed Mitt Romney, which is good enough for me. Picking Romney for the win with (shrug) 26%.

    He has the most straightforward turnout model an organization could want, and I’m guessing that behind-the-scenes, he’s getting a bit of assistance from certain IA pols with lots of data/success with IA’s seniors.

    Most of this caucus season has been the equivalent of rubber-necking at an accident. I suspect that more than a few IA Republicans have remained quietly supportive of Romney. Heck, I feel like cheering him on after this godawful sequence of pop-surge-fizz.

    4. Romney, Paul, Santorum, Perry, Gingrich, Bachmann, Huntsman. Are we supposed to conjure up vote % here?

    This is based on organizational strength. Romney/Paul/Perry have organizations, Santorum and Gingrich do not. I am mindful of Seltzer’s model that pushes Paul down when factors favoring Romney are pushed (seniors, tea party). Still, I don’t see Santorum reaping the benefits from the suuuuuuurge without an organization. Oh, but he has a faith network, they say. Yes, but “everyone sells out in Iowa.” I smell a rat about the non-endorsement by FAMiLY, Inc. I think the socons have saved face w/ their True Conservative, and Nick Ryan can milk this cow the next time around, but deep down, everyone knows that Santorum’s life expectancy beyond IA is nil. Socons are still smarting from Huckabee’s fizzle, and that’s another reason I don’t see them showing at full strength.

    5. I think Team O/Dvorsky have clamped down hard here. Game is rigged, y’all. 1%. Seriously, I haven’t seen evidence of organization by OccupyDemCaucus types, which is what you’d need to make a serious show of it. Gotta know which precincts to target. Here I agree w/ jdeeth — too much photo-op, not enough nuts and bolts.


    *** I speak pheasant, and I’m hearing “Thank God it’s 3-Jan from Iowa ***

    Comment on Ron Paul. If he wins w/ significant Dem support, I’m off the Dem reservation. I have read through his issues section at his campaign site. It is incoherent. Please explain “keep promises to seniors while allowing young workers to opt out.” Explain how we will operate w/o income taxes, capital gains taxes and ‘death’ taxes. Enjoy the resurgence of coal. Dump multiple fed agencies and cut the fed workforce 10%. Repeal Roe v Wade. Personhood at conception. End birthright citizenship. End the welfare state. Union coercion is unconstitutional.

    I see little to no revenue. I would like to hear an explanation of how Mr. Paul will be winding down the military-industrial complex, along with dowsizing the federal govt and eliminating corporate/personal income/capital gains/inheritance taxes. This is not an argument for maintaining the military-indusrial status quo, but it is an argument for central planning, which is a no-no in Paul’s world.

    Not only does his vision of decentralization fly in the face of how one realistically goes about downsizing an industry important for jobs and the economy, the campaign for personal freedom/individual liberty is a sham. Within his state’s rights framework, most Americans, and certainly a vast majority of Democrats are anything but liberated when their rights are pegged to a zip code. This is not about the newsletters — Paul belongs in the 19thC, along with his fellow white Christian male property owners. No wonder he is outraged at the thought of honoring Mrs. Rosa Parks.  

    I understand why younger, undeducated white males feel hopeless, and why they are gung-ho behind Paul. They are right to feel betrayed by the “status quo” political system. This isn’t the answer, but shame on (I’ll not use the pejorative) affluent liberals claiming to “make a statement” by endorsing his candidacy. No, you can’t pick out one poorly thought-out issue to hang your hat on. I am sensing the end of the Democratic coalition as we know it in the not too distant future. And I don’t ever want to hear from the liberal racism police again.

    I’m seeing over and over again: but Obama .. then why not back a primary challenge? I say it’s because they didn’t want to risk any creature comforts, after all, it’s much easier to deal away other people’s rights. I’m fine w/ the reigning in of defense spending within reason and ending “useless wars”, but see no reason to accept abhorrent policy as outlined above in trade. It’s not either-or.  

    • I can't figure out

      what to guess for the Democratic turnout. Gut says with all the work they’re doing, they should be able to reach 20 to 25 percent of ’08 Dem turnout, but conversations with Democratic acquaintances make me think turnout will be lower than that.

      I have tried to bring Democratic Paul leaners around to caucusing uncommitted at the Dem caucus instead, with no success. But I don’t think there will be a huge wave of Democrats for Paul anyway, which is one reason why I think my final prediction will have him finishing third.

      • I'm going to stick with the wishful thinking,

        the reality is that Romney will pick either Rubio or Susana Martinez. I say game over. Obama is 100% dependent on minorities and single women, by his team’s admission. He can’t afford even a minor haircut on these demographics. If he can’t muster a strong showing out of the gate on “hallowed ground,” forget about it. Clinton had no relationship w/ Iowa and managed 50K, so c’mon.

        So glad this is over. Remember the video for Madonna’s Open Your Heart? I’ve felt like a sailor at a peep show.

  • The beret bets

    GOP attendance 124,500

    Dem attendance 37,000 (Below 1996; the Bill Clinton fly around helped in 1996 and a video link just won’t do the trick. We needed a visit. Also, there was no Ron Paul equivalent on the GOP side in 96)

    3 and 4:

    1. Paul 23

    2. Santorum 21

    3. Romney 20

    4. Gingrich 14

    5. Perry 12

    6. Bachmann 7 and dropping out tonight

    7. “Other” 1.5. Mostly Palin and Christie but we’ll never know.

    8. Cain 0.999%

    9. Huntsman 0.5

    10. Roemer some two digit number of total votes

    5. Uncommitted Dem gets low single digits. I’ll say 3, and nothing outside Johnson County. Those folks will be for Ron Paul or at an anti-caucus event.

    6. GOP winner takes 37 counties

  • 2012 IA Caucus election thread

    1. 132,220

    2. 65,000

    3. 26%

    4. Romney, Santorum, Paul, Perry, Gingrich, Bachman, Other

    5. 5%

    6. 35


  • Just another entry

    1: 135,000

    2: 100,000

    3: 25%

    4: Santorum, Romney, Paul, Perry, Gingrich, Bachmann, Huntsman, Roemer

    5: 10%

    6: 60

  • Caucus Predictions

    1. 135,000

    2. 127,000

    3. Santorum (25 percent)

    4. * Rick Santorum

    * Mitt Romney

    * Ron Paul

    * Newt Gingrich

    * Rick Perry

    * Michele Bachmann

    * Jon Huntsman

    5. 14%

    Tiebreaker: 74 counties

  • another one

    not too many comments, scince it seems that I broke my shoulder today and I’m not very good at typing with my left hand

    1. GOP attendance 162,000

    2. Dem attendance 52,000

    barely topping 1996

    3. Romney 24 %:


    2. Santorum 23 %

    3. Paul 21 %

    4. Perry 11 %

    5. Gingrich 9 %

    6. Bachmann 7 % which I guess will bring her to drop out, while Gingrich will stay in and hope for South Carolina

    7. Huntsman 3 %

    8 Others 1 %/ Roemer less than 1 %

    5. Uncommitted Dem not more than 4%

    6. puh difficult, could see Romney winning the big counties and Santorum winning more of the smaller ones, let’s say 33

  • here goes nothing

    1. How many Iowans will participate in the Republican caucuses? Guessing high, 140,000

    2. How many Iowans will participate in the Democratic caucuses? Hardest question for me to come up with a guess. On the one hand, lots of Democrats are out of town, don’t see the point of caucusing with no contest, and may find it inconvenient to drive further to a caucus location. On the other hand, the Obama campaign has been doing a lot of GOTV. I’m guessing about 20 percent of 2008 turnout, or 48,000.

    3. Rick Santorum, 25 percent

    4. Santorum 25 percent

    Romney 24 percent

    Paul 20 percent

    Gingrich 17 percent

    Perry 9 percent

    Bachmann 4 percent

    Huntsman or “other” 1 percent

    5. zero (less than 0.5 percent, which rounds down to zero)

    Tiebreaker: this is hard because I think Santorum will carry the largest number of counties, even if Romney is the overall winner, due to Romney’s strength in more urban areas. I will say 45 counties.

  • With no confidence...

    1. 118,674, in something of a surprise

    2. 47,407

    3. 22.2

    4. Romney (22.2 per cent), Paul (21.1), Santorum (20.9), Gingrich (14.0), Perry (10.9), Bachmann (7.8), Huntsman (2.3), Roemer (0.3), (Other [0.3]), (No Preference [0.2]), Cain (0.2)

    5. 3

    Tiebreaker: 49