With no clear leader in either party less than a week before the 2016 Iowa caucuses, this latest installment in Bleeding Heartland's occasional series of prediction contests should be especially fun. Anyone can participate, regardless of whether you live in Iowa or have ever lived here.
To enter the contest, post your answers to the eight questions enclosed below as comments in this thread before 6 pm on February 1. Valid entries must be submitted as comments here. Predictions sent to me by e-mail or posted on social media will not be considered. It only takes a minute to register as a Bleeding Heartland user (a link is near the upper right corner of this screen). You don't have to use your real name; feel free to choose a screen name that allows you to post anonymously. You'll be e-mailed a password for logging in. Then you can comment here or on any other thread. To protect against spammers, your comment will be "pending" until I approve it.
It's fine to change your mind after making your guesses, as long as you post your revised predictions as an additional comment in this thread before the deadline.
No money or prizes are at stake here, just bragging rights. This contest doesn't work like "The Price is Right"; the winning answers will be closest to the final results, whether they were a little high or low. Even if you have no idea, please try to take a guess on every question.
1. How many Iowans will participate in the Democratic precinct caucuses on February 1? (The 2004 Democratic caucus turnout was just below 125,000, while 2008 turnout was close to 240,000.)
2. How many Iowans will participate in the Republican precinct caucuses on February 1? (The previous record GOP caucus turnout was around 121,000 in 2012, slightly above the 2008 level.)
3. What percentage of the delegates will Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley win?
4. How many of Iowa's 99 counties will be carried by Clinton, Sanders, and O'Malley? (In 2008, Barack Obama carried 41 counties, John Edwards 29, and Hillary Clinton 25; in four counties, the top two candidates received the same number of delegates.)
5. What percentage of the vote will the top Republican candidate receive?
6. How many Iowa counties will the top Republican carry? (Although Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum were separated by just a few dozen votes in the 2012 caucus, Santorum carried 65 counties and Romney only sixteen.)
7. Name all Republican candidates you expect to win at least 10 percent of the caucus-goers' votes, and put them in your expected finishing order (starting with the top vote-getter).
8. Put the following twelve Republican candidates in the correct finishing order. Listed alphabetically, they are Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, and Donald Trump.
I will post my own guesses in a comment soon.