Thursday, February 6, 2020

Iowa: what we know so far

It was scintillating watching C-SPAN's coverage of the Iowa Caucus in West Des Moines on Monday night.  You can see a rebroadcast of it here.  In this one caucus room, Bernie Sanders had the most votes in the second round with 99 followed by Elizabeth Warren with 76, Pete Buttigieg with 73, and Amy Klobuchar with 57.  With these totals Sanders, Buttigieg, and Warren were each awarded three delegates to the state convention each (abbreviated in as SDE in the table above) with Klobuchar getting two.  Biden did not have more than 15% of the 333 caucus goers and received no delegates.  The statewide numbers as of this writing are presented above with 96% of the caucus rooms counted.

Like everyone else, I was flabbergasted when the results were not immediately available.  The entrance polls (exit polls are used in the primaries and general elections) showed a close race between Sanders and Buttigieg.  Forty two percent of the caucus goers were male and 58% were female.  Ninety one % were white, 3% were African-American, 4% were Latino, and 2% were other.  Sanders edged Buttigieg among young, male, and nonwhite caucus goers.  Biden did best among caucus goers who said foreign policy mattered most to them (13% of the total).  Sanders won among those who said income inequality was most important (18% of the total).  Among those who said health care was most important (42%) Sanders and Buttigieg were tied.  Likewise they were tied among those who said climate change was most important (21%).

The overall results so far show that Sanders leads among the first and second round caucus goers but Buttigieg leads among state delegates by 3.  In 2016, Bernie lost to Clinton by a razor thin margin in the state delegates and it may happen again this year depending on the last 4% still to be counted. This was the first year they reported who the caucus goers preferred rather than just the delegates.  The result of the delegates could change as the last 4% is counted.

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez has called for a re-canvassing of the caucus results.  The phone app that they used to send the results but at least they had a paper trail.  These results are similar to those of the electoral college in the 2016 and 2000 elections.  Both systems should be reformed.

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