I will update this post throughout the evening. As of 9 pm, 75 percent of Democratic precincts have reported, and Hillary Clinton narrowly leads Bernie Sanders by 50.4 percent to 48.9 percent of state delegate equivalents. Martin O'Malley won less than 1 percent of the state delegate equivalents and is reportedly dropping out of the race. UPDATE: with 81 percent of precincts reporting (but not including some Iowa City and Cedar Rapids precincts), Clinton is barely ahead by 50.2 percent to 49.1 percent. Turnout seems to be considerably higher than I expected, which explains how well Sanders is doing. He could pull ahead to Clinton if she doesn't have good counties and precincts outstanding.
The Republican race is too close to call between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, with about 75 percent of the votes counted. Marco Rubio is in third place. I noticed that Bret Hayworth of the Sioux City Journal predicted a Cruz win, as did I. On the Republican side, only Cruz was running a traditional ground game. Supposedly the Trump campaign hired out its phone banking, and I never heard much about door-knocking on his behalf.
What happened in your precinct? Share your stories in the comments. I've posted what happened in Windsor Heights 2 below.
9:30 UPDATE: Television networks are calling the GOP race for Cruz. Mike Huckabee is dropping out of the race; he outperformed his polling numbers but is still way behind the leaders at around 7 percent.
9:45 UPDATE: With 88 percent of Democratic precincts reporting, Clinton is ahead by only 49.9 percent to 49.5 percent. Sanders could pull ahead.
10:30 UPDATE: Clinton is speaking now, which surprises me, because she's only ahead by 50.1 percent to 49.4 percent with 93 percent of precincts reporting. For some reason, the Iowa Democratic Party's website is showing my own precinct (Windsor Heights 2) as not yet reporting. We were done by around 8:30.
11:20 UPDATE: With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Clinton's lead is down to 49.8 percent to 49.6 percent. A bunch of Polk County precincts are still outstanding, including mine. At least six precincts around the state had one delegate awarded by a coin flip.
12:00 am UPDATE: Steve Kornacki and Rachel Maddow got the coin flip story badly wrong on MSNBC, claiming the coin flips (all won by Clinton in the various precincts) accounted for Clinton's statewide lead over Sanders. No. The coin flips resolve who would get the last remaining county delegate from a precinct. Clinton is ahead by a handful of state delegate equivalents.
12:50 am UPDATE: With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Clinton leads by 49.9 percent to 49.6 percent. Just twelve precincts have not reported.
2 am: Make that ten precincts outstanding. I want to hear from Democrats who caucused in Des Moines precinct 43 at Roosevelt High School. There seems to have been some confusion about the count, and Sanders supporters online are accusing the precinct chair and the Clinton precinct captain of "fraud," based on this video. It's not unusual for there to be some confusion or people missed during the count. We had to count our Clinton group twice last night.
2:30 am: The Iowa Democratic Party released a statement a few minutes ago, which I've enclosed below. According to the party, statewide turnout was 171,109, much higher than I expected but nearly 70,000 below the record turnout of 2008. The party says "Clinton has been awarded 699.57 state delegate equivalents, Bernie Sanders has been awarded 695.49 state delegate equivalents, Martin O’Malley has been awarded 7.68 state delegate equivalents and uncommitted has been awarded .46 state delegate equivalents. We still have outstanding results in one precinct (Des Moines—42), which is worth 2.28 state delegate equivalents."
The outstanding precinct (Des Moines 42) is on the west side, bordering Windsor Heights. There is no clear trend in the six neighboring precincts, with Sanders and Clinton winning two each and the other two ending in a delegate tie.
With all the excitement on the Democratic side, I forgot to update the Republican results. They are after the jump. The GOP turnout of more than 180,000 was about 50 percent higher than their previous record turnout in 2012.
Statement from the Iowa Democratic Party in the early hours of February 2:
Statement from IDP Chair on Tonight’s Historically Close Caucus Results
More Than 170,000 Iowa Democrats Come Out to Support Our Outstanding, Pro-Middle Class Candidates
DES MOINES—IDP Chair Dr. Andy McGuire released the following statement on tonight’s 2016 Iowa Democratic Precinct Caucuses:
“Tonight we saw an historically close Iowa Democratic Caucus that featured one of our strongest turnouts ever and passion and energy from Democrats all across our state.
“After a year where Iowans took the time to see candidates, ask them thoughtful questions, and became volunteers and leaders themselves, tonight 171,109 Iowa Democrats came together with their neighbors to engage in a spirited discussion on the future of our country. We saw passionate, engaged Iowans turn out in all 99 counties, and for the first time ever, the IDP ran both a Tele-Caucus and satellite caucus locations, fulfilling our promise to expand participation and improve on an already incredible process.
“The results tonight are the closest in Iowa Democratic caucus history. Hillary Clinton has been awarded 699.57 state delegate equivalents, Bernie Sanders has been awarded 695.49 state delegate equivalents, Martin O’Malley has been awarded 7.68 state delegate equivalents and uncommitted has been awarded .46 state delegate equivalents. We still have outstanding results in one precinct (Des Moines—42), which is worth 2.28 state delegate equivalents. We will report that final precinct when we have confirmed those results with the chair.
"I want to congratulate all of our candidates for running terrific campaigns and thank them for taking the time to travel across our great state to share their visions for the country. In particular, I want to thank Governor Martin O’Malley for the time he devoted to meeting with Iowans and for sharing his vision of continued progress all across our state. His distinguished record as a mayor and governor as well as his plans for continued progress inspired the people of our state, and I look forward to his continued service to the nation and our working families.
"Finally, I want to thank the thousands of volunteers who helped run our precinct caucus locations all across the state. And most of all, I want to thank all of the Iowa Democrats who came out tonight to caucus and make their voice heard.”
Statement Hillary Clinton's campaign released shortly after 2:30 am on February 2:
Statement on Hillary Clinton's Victory in the Iowa Caucus
Hillary for America's Iowa State Director Matt Paul released the following statement following Hillary Clinton's victory in tonight's Iowa Caucus:
"Hillary Clinton has won the Iowa Caucus. After thorough reporting – and analysis – of results, there is no uncertainty and Secretary Clinton has clearly won the most national and state delegates. Statistically, there is no outstanding information that could change the results and no way that Senator Sanders can overcome Secretary Clinton's advantage."
However, Sanders state director Robert Becker tweeted shortly after 2 am, "Based on latest 1:50am CST @Microsoft @iowademocrats report, we are now calculating 657-657 state delegate equivalency tie. #IAcaucus2016" A few minutes later, Becker added, "Also, 24 precincts within @Microsoft @iowademocrats report where delegate totals do not match. #IAcaucus2016."
I am seeking comment from the Iowa Democratic Party on those statements and more details from the Sanders campaign on those 24 allegedly anomalous precincts.
I question the Clinton campaign spin that she "clearly" won the most national and state delegates. Technically, that's true, but she won by such a narrow margin, it seems more accurate to call the result a tie.
FEBRUARY 2 UPDATE: Shortly before noon, the Iowa Democratic Party released the county delegate allocations and state delegate equivalent conversions for all precincts. From the accompanying press release:
Final Precinct Results for 2016 Iowa Democratic Party Caucuses
One hundred percent of the precincts for the 2016 Iowa Democratic Precinct Caucuses have been reported.
• Hillary Clinton received 700.59 state delegate equivalents
• Bernie Sanders received 696.82 state delegate equivalents
• Martin O'Malley received 7.61 state delegate equivalents
• Uncommitted received .46 state delegate equivalents
Iowa Republican caucus results, via the Des Moines Register:
Ben Smith of Buzzfeed observed our caucus and taped some of the proceedings on Periscope.
I haven't been doing voter contacts this cycle, because I was undecided until very recently, so I walked into our caucus having no idea where the candidates stood. There seemed to be quite a few people on Bernie's side of the room, and I couldn't immediately tell whether they had more supporters than Hillary.
The O'Malley group included two people who helped be volunteer for John Kerry before the 2004 caucuses. One of them became Bill Richardson precinct captain during the 2008 cycle; the other was for Joe Biden.
After the caucus was called to order and we elected a permanent chair and secretary, it took a long time to count all the attendees. We sounded off one by one, to make sure no one got missed. Turnout was higher than I expected at 229 caucus-goers. That's close to the midpoint between our 2004 turnout (175) and our 2008 turnout (293). The viability threshold was set at 35.
O'Malley's group was way short with 13 or 14 people (an uncommitted person was wavering).
I decided recently to caucus for Clinton, and to my surprise, she had quite a few more supporters in my precinct--134 after the first division into preference groups to 78 for Sanders. We had to count the Clinton group twice because the first time, the numbers for all the groups did not add up to 229.
Speeches commenced during the realignment period. The O'Malley precinct leader pleaded for others to help them become viable to keep three strong candidates in the race. Unfortunately for her, they were too far below the threshold for it to make sense for others to bring O'Malley up to 35 supporters.
The first person to speak on Sanders' behalf talked about how he has never voted before but was inspired by Bernie to get involved in the process. The Clinton group mostly listened quietly, but at one point, when he was talking about how we shouldn't settle for small changes, we should go for more, a Hillary supporter shouted from the back of the room, "Like McGovern!"
A Clinton supporter spoke about how she has the experience to be president and particularly praised her foreign policy background. Another Clinton supporter talked about her ability to achieve positive change on many issues; he's a specialist in corporate law and vouched for her Wall Street reform plan. Things started to degenerate a few speeches later, when a Bernie fan stood up to accuse Hillary of being "bought and paid for" by Wall Street. We got back on track, though. The first Sanders speaker got up to say that Bernie would be better positioned to win over Republicans like his wife. He acknowledged that Clinton could probably beat Trump but claimed that polls show she would lose to Cruz. I wasn't planning to speak but had to shout out that he was wrong about that.
Toward the end of the realignment period, a Clinton supporter appealed to the O'Malley group: if just four of them came over, she would win a fourth delegate out of the six from our precinct. Most of the O'Malley supporters came to the Clinton side, but I was still nervous about the math, because a couple of elderly people who had been for Hillary got tired of waiting and left. You need to be there for the second division into preference groups to be counted toward delegates.
In any event, the Clinton group had enough supporters to pick up that fourth delegate. Sanders won the other two, and neither group had any trouble electing delegates. We moved through the rest of the agenda quickly. Only two people were interested in running for the two Polk County central committee spots. The precinct chair entertained a motion to approve all the platform resolutions as a bloc.