Bleeding Heartland 2014 primary election prediction contest results

Now that Republicans have selected a nominee in the third Congressional district, it’s time to examine results from Bleeding Heartland’s primary election prediction contest. You can view all the entries in this comment thread.  

1. How many Republicans will cast ballots statewide in the five-way primary for U.S. Senate? Keep in mind that Democrats and no-party voters may change their registrations on June 3 in order to vote in the GOP primary. For reference, just under 230,000 ballots were cast in the 2010 three-way GOP primary for governor. The winner on this question will be the person whose guess is closest to the actual turnout, whether high or low.

Answer: 158,031 ballots were cast in the IA-Sen primary, including 144 write-in votes.

As a group, Bleeding Heartland prognosticators did poorly on this question. Only Mark R. Schweitzer was close to the mark with a guess of 163,000, commenting,

In all due respect, I am seeing some WAY high primary turnout predictions for Republicans.  I guess this is because of the number of candidates running.  And it could be correct.  I just don’t see it.  I don’t see it in the absentee requests and I don’t see Republicans getting that much more excited tomorrow about voting – and they have good reason not to get excited.

Julie Stauch and 2laneIA tied for second place on this question, guessing GOP turnout of 200,000.

2. What percentage of the vote will each of the five Republicans seeking the U.S. Senate nomination (Sam Clovis, Joni Ernst, Mark Jacobs, Scott Schaben, and Matt Whitaker) receive in the primary?

Result: Ernst 56.1 percent, Clovis 18.0 percent, Jacobs 16.8 percent, Whitaker 7.5 percent, Schaben 1.4 percent.

All of us correctly predicted that Ernst would finish ahead of the others, but none of us guessed she would exceed 50 percent. We mostly put her percentage in the low 40s or high 30s. Julie Stauch was closest with a prediction of 45 percent for Ernst. 2laneIA put Ernst at 43 percent. Greg Hauenstein and Pretzelgraf tied for third with guesses of 42 percent.

Julie Stauch and I were the only competitors to predict that Clovis would edge out Jacobs for second place. My guesses of 22 percent for Clovis and 20 percent for Jacobs were closer to the mark here.

3. What percentage of the vote will Governor Terry Branstad and Tom Hoefling receive in the GOP primary for governor?

Result: Branstad 83.6 percent, Hoefling 16.8 percent.

Bleeding Heartland user Johannes is the winner here, having guessed that Branstad would win 84 percent in his primary. 2laneIA, Pretzelgraf, and I all tied for second, predicting 85 percent for the governor.

4. What percentage of the vote will each of the five Democrats seeking the nomination in IA-01 (Swati Dandekar, Anesa Kajtazovic, Pat Murphy, Dave O’Brien, and Monica Vernon) receive in the primary?

Result: Murphy 36.7 percent, Vernon 23.6 percent, Dandekar 18.3 percent, Kajtazovic 14.7 percent, O’Brien 6.7 percent.

Almost all of us predicted Murphy would win a plurality in the primary, but many people had him below the 35 percent threshold needed to win it outright. Bleeding Heartland user rockm was closest, putting Murphy at 37 percent, followed by ghbraves (36 percent) and me (38 percent).  

Honorable mention goes to ModerateIADem, who was the only person here to guess the correct finishing order for the five Democrats. I guessed pretty close on the final percentages but had Kajtazovic in third and Dandekar fourth.

5. What percentage of the vote will each of the three Republicans seeking the nomination in IA-01 (Rod Blum, Gail Boliver, Steve Rathje) receive in the primary?

Result: Blum 54.9 percent, Rathje 37.1 percent, Boliver 7.8 percent.

All of us correctly predicted that Blum would win the primary. Bleeding Heartland user ghbraves was closest with a guess of 55 percent for Blum, followed by greghauenstein (56 percent) and a tie between rockm and Johannes (52 percent).

6. What percentage of the vote will each of the three Republicans seeking the nomination in IA-02 (Mark Lofgren, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, and Matthew Waldren) receive in the primary?

Result: Miller-Meeks 49.4 percent, Lofgren 38.2 percent, Waldren 12.3 percent.

We all had Miller-Meeks taking this primary. The winner on this question was rockm (49 percent), with a four-way tie for second among 2laneIA, ghbraves, Mark R. Schweitzer, and Pretzelgraf, who all guessed 50 percent. Honorable mention to ModerateIADem, who guessed 48 percent for MMM.

7. What percentage of the vote will each of the six Republicans seeking the nomination in IA-03 (Robert Cramer, Joe Grandanette, Matt Schultz, Monte Shaw, David Young, and Brad Zaun) receive in the primary?

Result: Zaun 24.6 percent, Cramer 21.2 percent, Schultz 20.1 percent, Shaw 16.9 percent, Young 15.6 percent, Grandanette 1.6 percent.

Most of us correctly predicted that no one would hit the 35 percent threshold in this primary. Many of us had Zaun winning a plurality. ModerateIADem, Mark R. Schweitzer, and Johannes were closest to his percentage, putting Zaun at 25 percent, followed by rockm, who guessed 27 percent for the 2010 GOP nominee in this district.

I was a bit off on the percentages but was the only competitor who correctly guessed the finishing order of the IA-03 Republicans.

8. Which of the following races will have the nomination decided at a special convention: IA-Sen Republican primary, IA-01 Democratic primary, and/or IA-03 Republican primary?

Julie Stauch, rockm, 2laneIA, ghbraves, MrScarletW and I all correctly predicted that the GOP primary in IA-03 would be the only race to go to a convention.

Questions 9 and 10 were irrelevant, as the primaries were decided on June 3.

11. Who will win the IA-03 GOP nomination if it goes to a district convention?

Only Julie Stauch correctly predicted that David Young would have the inside track here.

12. Will any Iowa House or Senate incumbent in either party lose to a primary challenger? If so, name the person or people who will suffer the fate of Iowa House Majority Whip Erik Helland in 2012.

MrScarletW, Johannes, ghbraves, 2laneIA, Mark R. Schweitzer, greghauenstein, ModerateIADem, and I all correctly predicted that no state legislator would lose to a primary challenger.


When I tallied up the results, I realized that for the first time, Bleeding Heartland’s election prediction contest has no clear winner. Several people will have to share the bragging rights.

Julie Stauch called the IA-03 convention for Young and was closest to Ernst’s surprisingly high vote percentage in the IA-Sen primary. She also predicted that Clovis would be the runner up in that primary, predicted that IA-Sen and IA-01 would be won outright on June 3, and made the second-closest guess on another question.

Johannes and ghbraves posted the top answer on three questions and the second-best guess on two other questions, while rockm had the best guess three times and placed second and third one time each.

Mark R. Schweitzer was the only person who saw the collapse in GOP primary turnout coming. He also correctly predicted no incumbent losses to primary challengers, and was one of several people to hit Brad Zaun’s primary vote on the head.

Congratulations to all the winners. Keep an eye out for the general election prediction contest in late October.

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  • LOL!

    Ha, maybe managing those congressional races has some residual value in predicting turn out. My caucus to convention experience shows that whatever might be the strangest outcome,that’s what will happen. This is true for either party because where ever party activists gather anomalies occur.

    For the record, I usually suck at predictions, which makes this all rather fun for me!

    • the rules are so important

      A runoff between the top two candidates after the first ballot would have knocked David Young out of the IA-03 convention quickly. He benefited from being the second choice of various groups.