Historically, a candidate cannot win the nomination unless he finishes in the top three, or nearly so, in Iowa.
The 2016 Iowa caucus was held on February 1, 2016. In the Republican poll, Ted Cruz received 27.6 percent of the vote (8 delegates) compared to 24.3 percent (7 delegates) for Donald Trump and 23.1 percent (7 delegates) for Marco Rubio. In the Democratic poll, Hillary Clinton received 49.85 percent of the vote (23 delegates) while Bernie Sanders received 49.58 percent (21 delegates).
Iowa Republican primary voters tend to be conservative on the social issues. Rick Santorum won a surprise victory against heavily funded Mitt Romney in Iowa in 2012. In 2008, Mike Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses.
Although the Iowa caucuses are more than a century old, they were not seen as a significant means of predicting the outcome of the Republican and Democratic nominations until the early 1970s. George McGovern's success in winning the Democratic nomination in 1972, and later in 1976, Jimmy Carter's winning the nomination after winning the Iowa Caucus gave credibility to the contest.
Unlike the Democrats, the Republicans paid little attention to the Iowa caucus until 1976 when Gerald Ford narrowly beat Ronald Reagan in an informal straw poll held at the caucuses, leading to Reagan's loss in the presidential primary nomination.
The significance of the Iowa caucuses has varied. In 1992, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin ran for the Democratic presidential nomination. Because of Harkins' popularity in Iowa, none of the Democratic candidates chose to compete in the state. United States Senator John Kerry won the Democratic Iowa caucus and later the nomination for the party's presidential candidate. North Carolina Senator John Edwards came in a close second, and later joined the Kerry campaign as vice presidential candidate.
The Iowa caucuses are allowed to precede the New Hampshire primary, which was traditionally the first primary presidential election, on the technicality that a caucus is not an election open for free to the general public.
Historically, no modern candidate has won the presidential election without finishing in the top three in the Iowa caucuses.
The Iowa caucuses are the earliest primary election in the presidential nomination process for both the Republican and Democratic Parties. As a caucus rather than an open or closed primary, this Iowa primary is dominated by more dedicated voters who are willing to make the long trip to centralized polling places in order to vote.
Approximately a hundred thousand Republicans typically vote in these caucuses.
Unlike the Iowa straw poll or similar events in other states, the Iowa caucuses are the first event on the election calendar that affects the allocation of delegates at the party national conventions. Beginning with the 2012 Presidential election, Iowa switched from the old winner-take-all allocation to proportional allocation. The change gives lesser-known candidates a chance and making it harder for a frontrunner to secure the National majority early. It was also hoped that this change in the election system would energize the base of the party.
2008 Iowa Caucuses
The 2008 Iowa Caucuses were originally to be held on Monday, January 14, 2008. But they were rescheduled to January 3, 2008.
Current presidential primary contestants shows the three top tier candidates, New York senator Hillary Clinton, North Carolina Senator John Edwards and Illinois Senator Barack Obama at a close race in Iowa polls. According to a ABC-Washington Post poll, Obama stands in first place with support of 27% of likely voters, Clinton and Edwards are tied at 26%. In 2004, Edwards took second place at the Iowa and has since remained consistently popular among Democrats in the state. Former New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson, is the only other candidate to reach double digits with 11%. A NewsMax/Zogby Iowa Democratic poll in late August 2007, put Clinton in first place, with 30 percent, among likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers. Edwards received 23 percent support, while Obama received 19 percent..
The Republican Iowa Caucus has been closely tied with a non-official primary event, the Iowa Straw Poll. Former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney had held a consistent lead, although the race remained very close to the end.
|October 17, 2007||Mitt Romney 26%||Fred Thompson 19%||Mike Huckabee 18%||Rudy Giuliani 13%||John McCain 6%|
|October 1–3||Mitt Romney 29%||Fred Thompson 16%||Mike Huckabee 12%||Rudy Giuliani 11%||John McCain 7%|
- 2016 - Hillary Clinton (49.85%) defeats Bernie Sanders (49.58%)
- 2012 - Barack Obama wins unopposed
- 2008- Barack Obama (38%) defeats John Edwards (30%), Hillary Clinton (30%), Bill Richardson (2%), Joe Biden (0.9%), Chris Dodd (0.02%)
- 2004- John Kerry (26%) defeats John Edwards (23%), Howard Dean (20%), Dick Gephardt (18%), Dennis Kucinich (3%)
- 2000- Al Gore (63%) defeats Bill Bradley (35%)
- 1996- Bill Clinton wins unopposed
- 1992 - Tom Harkin (76%) defeats Paul Tsongas (4%), Bill Clinton* (3%), Bob Kerrey (2%) and Jerry Brown (2%)
- 1988 - Dick Gephardt defeats (31%) Paul Simon (27%), Michael Dukakis* (22%) and Bruce Babbitt (6%)
- 1980- Jimmy Carter (59%) defeats Ted Kennedy (31%)
- 1976 - "Uncommitted" (37%), Jimmy Carter* (28%) Birch Bayh (13%), Fred R. Harris (10%), Morris Udall (6%), Sargent Shriver (3%) and Henry Jackson (1%)
- 1972 - Edmund Muskie (36%) George McGovern* (23%), Hubert Humphrey (2%), Eugene McCarthy (1%), Shirley Chisholm (1%) and Henry Jackson (1%)
- 2016 - Ted Cruz (27.6%) defeats Donald Trump (24.3%) and Marco Rubio (23.1%).
- 2012 Rick Santorum (24.56%) defeats Mitt Romney* (24.53%), Ron Paul (21.43%), Newt Gingrich (13.30%), Rick Perry (10.33%), Michele Bachmann (4.98%), and Jon Huntsman (0%)
- 2008- Mike Huckabee (34%) defeats Mitt Romney (25%), Fred Thompson (13%), John McCain (13%), Ron Paul (10%), Rudy Giuliani (3%), Duncan Hunter (0%)
- 2004- George W. Bush wins unopposed
- 2000- George W. Bush ( 40.99%) defeats Steve Forbes (30.50% ), Alan Keyes (14.24%), Gary Bauer (8.53%), and John McCain (4.67%)
- 1996- Bob Dole (26%) defeats Pat Buchanan (23%), Lamar Alexander (18%), Steve Forbes (10%), Phil Gramm (9%), Alan Keyes (7%), Richard Lugar (4%) and Maurice Taylor (1%)
- 1992'- George H. W. Bush wins unopposed.
- 1988- Bob Dole (37%) defeats Pat Robertson (25%), George H. W. Bush* (19%), Jack Kemp (11%) and Pete DuPont (7%)
- 1984- Ronald Reagan wins (unopposed)
- 1980- George H. W. Bush (32%) Ronald Reagan* (30%), Howard Baker (15%), John Connally (9%), Phil Crane (7%), John B. Anderson (4%) and Bob Dole (2%)
- 1976- Gerald Ford defeats Ronald Reagan
*Went on to win party nomination
- Johnson, Haynes, and Dan Balz. The Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election (2009) very good report on 2008 caucuses.
- Skipper, John C. The Iowa Caucuses: First Tests of Presidential Aspiration, 1972-2008 (2009)
- Goldberg, Jonah. "GOP, be careful what you wish for", March 5, 2012.
- George, Cameron. "Long, damaging presidential...", The Hill, February 24, 2012.