UPDATE (Tuesday Morning):
In the Democratic Caucus, Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders by an amount so small that the caucus results have to be regarded as tie.
Lesson learned: Those who caucused for O’Malley for ideological reasons, knowing he could not possibly win, account for a larger percentage of the overall caucus than the difference between the top two contenders. If most of those O’Malley voters would have been Sanders voters had O’Malley not been in the race, then they effectively Nadered Sanders.
Ted Cruz won the GOP caucus.
Everybody else: Less than 10% each
Fiorina, Kasich, Huckabee, Christie, Santorum and Gilmore got zero delegates.
CRUZ is the winner in the GOP caucus.
For the Dems, at this moment it is too close to call, but with just over 90% of the precincts reported in, Clinton is ahead of Sanders by under 1%.
To give you a feel for the last hour or so, here’s some data:
DEMS at 8:35 Clinton 50.8, Sanders 48.6
DEMS at 8:42 Clinton 50.9, Sanders 48.6
DEMS at 8:45 Clinton 50.7, Sanders 48.7
DEMS at 8:55 Clinton 50.5, Sanders 48.9
DEMS at 9:00 Clinton 50.4, Sanders 49.0 About 70% reporting.
DEMS at 9:13 Clinton 50.3, Sanders 49.1
DEMS at 9:20 Clinton 50.2, Sanders 49.2 – 1% difference, c/ 85% reported
DEMS at 9:31 Clinton 50.0, Sanders 49.3 0.7% difference
DEMS at 9.34 Clinton 50.0, Sanders 49.4 0.6% difference
DEMS at 9:38 Clinton 49.96 Sanders 49.38 86.79% reporting
DEMS at 9:42 Clinton 49.96 Sanders 49.39 87.69% reporting
DEMS at 9:44 Clinton 49.92 Sanders 49.44 88.64% reporting
DEMS at 9:52 Clinton 49.80 Sanders 49.56 89.53 % reporting
DEMS at 9:57 Clinton 49.80 Sanders 49.56 89.65% reporting STALL
DEMS 10:01 Clinton 49.84 Sanders 49.53 90.01% reporting REVERSAL
DEMS 10:03 Clinton 49.80 Sanders 49.57 90.48% reporting SWTICHBACK
DEMS 10:09 Clinton 49.84 Sanders 49.53 91.26% reporting REVERSAL
DEMS 10:13 Clinton 49.84 Sanders 49.53 91.43% reporting STALL
DEMS 10:14 Clinton 50.15 Sanders 49.32 91.73% reporting REVERSAL
DEMS 10:22 Clinton 50.15 Sanders 49.32 92.5% reporting STALL
DEMS 10:27 Clinton 50.15 Sanders 49.32 92.8% reporting
We still don’t know, but …
Trump and Cruz started out the evening in a real horse race, but for the last 50 minutes or so Cruz has been ahead by a few points (currently 29.7-26.6). It may be the case that my prediction, which no one believed I might add, will come true.
Meanwhile, I hear reports from college enclaves that Sanders is doing really well, in the order of 2:1 over Clinton. But state wide the evening started out with Clinton well ahead and holding (ca 52-47%). But over recent minutes, that gap has been narrowing. As of this writing the spread is 51.0-48.4%. I don’t know the exact percentage of precincts reporting so far, but it is a lot, possibly well over half.
So, so far, it looks like this may be Cruz and Clinton in Iowa. But things could change.
We don’t know yet! But I will post what I know here when I know it. Meanwhile, you might want to follow live results, which will not be available until evening Monday 1 Feb, here:
Meanwhile, we can speculate on who might win.
Who will win the Democratic Iowa Caucus?
Recent polling has shown that Clinton has been in the lead, by a substantial but shrinking margin, util recently. Then, Sanders caught up and about two polls back the two candidates were in a statistical tie. The most recent poll, by Emerson, covers January 29th through 31st, and shows Clinton advancing beyond statistical dead heat with an 8 point lead. Recent analysis by the Des Moines Register and others suggest that both Clinton and Sanders are well liked by Iowa Democrats, but Clinton may have some stronger numbers in her base.
In my view, it is too close to call; There is no obvious likely winner. Having said that, if I were to bet five bucks I’d bet on Clinton winning. I would not take a bet for more than five bucks, though.
If Sanders comes to within a few percentage points of Clinton, he still “wins” (as does Clinton) in a way because he meets expectations. If the spread is greater than 8 or 9 point, whoever wins wins big because they exceed expectations. That’s just my opinion, of course. In the end, a close result simply confirms that the Democrats have two viable candidates.
It is also possible that O’Malley will surge. The way the caucus system works tends to X-out candidates that are very low in percentage point. If O’Malley does better than that, he will have exceeded expectations and interesting things could happen.
Who will win the Republican Iowa Caucus?
Trump has been ahead all along, but he has fallen into a statistical dead heat with Cruz over the last few polls. A Trump loss, even by a little bit, will probably be seen as falling below expectations. A Cruz win will probably be seen as surpassing expectations. Rubio is not far down in third place. If he finishes second, or even a very close third, that will be meaningful.
ADDED: News is that Cruz is playing a very intense ground game in Iowa, and Trump is not. Trump is relying on an entirely off the books strategy, which seems to consist of, well, being Donald Trump. This makes the outcome of the GOP Caucus even more interesting. It suggests that if we live on Normal Earth, Cruz will surpass trump, because they are very close but the ground game wins it in Iowa. If, however, we live on Bizarro Earth, Trump’s alternative strategy will not only keep him ahead but possibly propel him even further .
By the way, it is generally true that whoever wins the Democratic Iowa Caucus ultimately wins the nomination, but I’m pretty sure that is less of a certainty with the GOP Iowa Caucus.
Stay tuned, and thanks, Iowa, for your electoral service!