It seems like it has been over eighty-seven years since the heavy petting began between candidates and voters. The dating has seemingly been longer and more expensive than prior Presidential campaigns.
Today in Iowa, the first votes finally begin for Campaign 2016. This does not bring about the end of Campaign 2016, but the actual beginning when voters have their say. Tonight, at 7pm CT, voters for both parties will enter caucus rooms with other voters, hear pitches from candidates, then vote. Republicans will do it by a closed ballot and Democrats by an open ballot.
Iowa tends to throw curveballs. The polling tends to be wrong. In fact, Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Rick Santorum in 2012 were surprises. For the Democrats, Howard Dean’s collapse in favor of John Kerry was a surprise and Barack Obama’s win in 2008 was not something people saw coming till the end.
The polling out of Iowa tends to be less accurate because caucuses tend to be more involved. There is no floating in and out of the polls on caucus day. Instead, voters show up at night. They must be in the room by 7pm CT and the doors are closed. The caucuses can take an hour or longer. Voters need to arrange childcare, they may worry about the weather, and they may need drivers too.
Most of the campaigns rent out 15 passenger vans and coordinate logistics to drive their voters to the caucuses and get them safely home. Snow is going to be a factor on Monday, though right now forecasts project the snow will come late and the temperature will stay above freezing.
By midnight eastern time, if all goes according plan, we will know who has won Iowa. I suspect we are in for a few surprises in outcome, but I predict Ted Cruz wins given his ground game operation.