Yesterday we were out in South Hadley having our traditional family Japanese New Year brunch when talk turned to the 2012 election season and to Nate Silver’s piece in the Sunday Review section of the New York Times. Some very interesting stuff there.
For example: Iowa is 91% white (the entire country is 74% white). You knew that, right? Did you know there are so few Jewish people, they don’t register as a percentage? But, except for race and the fact the Jews did not migrate to Iowa, the state is a fairly good mirror. Oh, except for turnout. Iowa wins 67 to 57. Iowa and New Hampshire have each picked 10 of the eventual nominees. Iowa does better with Democrats picking 6 while NH has picked 5 from each party. They have each picked the President correctly 3 times with Iowa having the most recent pick, President Obama. The track record is not particularly spectacular, but all the candidates are flocking there and political junkies are watching polls eagerly.
John Nichols writes in the Nation that the Republican candidates and their PACs will have spent upwards of $200 per vote when you count only television advertising. Kinda of nuts.
Seriously? All this for an glorified straw poll?
That’s the problem with the caucus system, which operates on an only slightly better model on the Democratic side.
Huge amounts of money are spent to influence a very small percentage of the electorate—less than 20 percent of Iowans who are likely to vote Republican in November will participate in Tuesday’s caucuses, and most of them will leave after the balloting finishes. An even smaller number of Iowans will begin the process of choosing representatives to county conventions, who in turn elect delegates to district and state conventions at which Iowa’s national delegates are actually selected.
As of lunch time today, Real Clear Politics shows Romney edging out Paul 22.8% to 21.5%. Romney is not even projected to get as many votes as he did in 2008- 25.2%. Nate Silver has the race a little closer with Romney edging out Paul 21.8 to 21. It is all in how you weight the various polls. Throw in an estimated 41% undecided and Iowa is anyone’s game. I think it is a measure of the field that Republican’s can’t decide who to support. Poor Jon Huntsman. We all agreed yesterday that is the only sensible one in the bunch so he has no chance. Probably lucky for Obama.
Rosie Moser, an undecided voter thinking of endorsing Michelle Bachmann, listened to former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, in Independence, Iowa, on Monday.
(Daniel Acker for The New York Times)
Speaking of the President. he has been organizing in Iowa for more than a year and has more field offices that any of the Republicans. It is will be interesting to see what the Democratic turn out is tomorrow night for a caucus that is already decided. The link is to an interesting video on the Obama efforts from the New York Times
I think the polls are all done and we only need to wait for the caucus goers to speak.