Who is Really Ahead in the Iowa Caucus?


Who's ahead in the Iowa Caucus? Neither polls nor the media provide the answer.

Obvious Question

Are Monmouth and Suffolk correct or are Iowa State University, Emerson, and Siena?

Wrong Question!

Curiously, that is not even the right question.

It may not matter.

Iowa Caucus Rules

The reason it matter is because of Iowa Caucus Rules.

  • The Iowa caucuses have multiple rounds.
  • Voters opting for a candidate who gets 15% of the vote in the first round or more are locked in.
  • The rest are free to change their minds.

Full Scorecard

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Warren and Buttigieg Wildcards

What happens in Iowa will largely depend on what Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg do.

If Warren tops 15% in most or all of those districts, that will roughly be her percent of the delegates.

The same applied to Buttigieg.

Four What Ifs?

  1. What if Warren tops 15% but Buttigieg doesn't?
  2. What if Buttigieg tops 15% but Warren doesn't?
  3. What if neither tops 15%?
  4. What if both do?

Those questions are crucial, yet I have not seen any analysis of them.

Crucial Questions Answered

1: Votes for Buttigieg are more likely to go for Biden than the others.

2: Votes for Warren are highly likely to go to Bernie.

3: I suspect Bernie is the winner but it is harder to say.

4: I suspect Biden will pick up more of those for voting for Klobuchar, Yang, Steyer, etc.

More Complications

It's even a bit more complicated than that.

Warren might not get 15% nationally yet get 15% in most of the districts. Only in those districts where she fails to get 15% will those initial votes get recast.

The same applies to Buttigieg.

Two Winners

What Warren and Buttigieg do greatly matters.

Bernie can easily win the first round, yet Biden can come away with more delegates.

Who's the winner? Both or the one with more delegates?

Who's in the Lead Now?

The media is universally discussing Bernie's lead.

Does Bernie even have a lead?

Curiously, those rooting for Biden should want Warren to exceed 15% in every district.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (20)
No. 1-8

Biden is done. He was there mainly as a foil for the Coup 2.0 Impeachment deal. He'll be done within a few weeks.

I predict Bloomberg and Buttigieg.
The only problem with the latter, despite the huge positives of being young, gay and a Rhodes Scholar, is that his name is just going to be too easy to make cracks about (oops!). And as we all know by now, the one thing forbidden in anything to do with politics Democrat style is


PS. And Bernie is an Idealist par Excellence. Such people should be barred from running but it doesn't matter: naive young people and SJW types will flock to him and scare off the rest of the population, so there is a self-correction mechanism built in.

Trump might well surpass 400 this time...
(there I go, trolling Mish again!)



If a post is 100% pure politics - I am going to use this forum again. If mixed, then economics. I have a bunch



Biden + Klobuchar
Bloomberg + Klobuchar

likely a landslide IMO


Pocahontas, Warbucks and seven more mental dwarfs. Karl Marx would be an upgrade, and Adam Smith's turning in his grave.


I think that historically, Iowa is a rather poor predictor of who will eventually head the ticket, for either party.


Bernie has, for all these years, "caucused with the Democrats". The DNC could not be thrilled to have old Bernie leading the party he's not a member of.

If I were a DNC person, I'd be upset with Biden. He's tired and driving 45 MPH in the left lane, keeping the D bench from getting starter experience in the current game.

Four years ago, the pro R's didn't like that stealth D, Trump, but the D's fixed that problem by viciously herding the R's and Trump in to a tight bunch. That's a great strategy if, in fact, Trump were the bozo that the D's make him out to be. But, reality does affect politics sometimes, so, oops.

Entertaining, this is. Last election we had the choice between Eva Peron and Biff. This time it'll be like a Ukrainian election - one billionaire against another.

Har, har. Hey, somebody toss me another brew.

Russell J
Russell J

I am shocked and amazed that Warren and Biden are still showing their faces in public after the fiascos they've been associated with. Even more surprising, even though it shouldn't be I guess, is that most of the public doesn't seem to care and continues playing along as if these 2 haven't done anything wrong.

The rest are sure losers against Trump.

Tulsi was the only candidate that could've given Trump a challenge and hope for the American people and the rest of the world.

Now Bloomberg is gonna represent the democrats.

I almost feel sorry for my fellow Americans that vote democrat.


I believe people are thinking about this caucus in the wrong way. The big divide is age. As a New Yorker article put it yesterday: “ An Emerson poll of Iowa this week found that forty-four per cent of Democrats under fifty support Sanders; ten per cent favor Elizabeth Warren, and no other candidate reached double digits.” That means this caucus is all about turnout. If Bernie can figure out how to bring out the youth (and even the middle aged), he will win easily. If the Pelosi/Schumer/Nadler crowd (the hippies from the 1960s) show up in droves, Biden will dominate in Iowa.

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