With the Iowa Caucuses later today, practically every political commentator has an opinion one way or another on who will win among the Democrats. I figured I’d throw my analysis in the mix as well, for better or worse. I’d love to hear everyone’s prediction on what’s going to happen. I’ll be making one at the end of this article, after some analysis on my end.
Most polls in Iowa have shown a surge for Bernie Sanders, with a strong majority showing him in the lead. A few have Biden in the lead; the major difference has been because of the methodology of these polls, with the ones with Sanders in the lead emphasizing voters who caucused in 2016, while the ones with Biden in the lead emphasizing primary voters in 2018. I don’t necessarily have a strong opinion on either one, but would tend to lean towards polls who weigh previous caucus-goers more.
Of course, more people than Sanders or Biden are running, with Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Pete Buttigieg hoping for a minor miracle tonight. Ironically, Klobuchar is going to both hurt and help Biden during the caucuses, while Elizabeth Warren will hamstring Sanders, because of Iowa’s idiosyncrasies.
If you’re not up-to-date with Iowa’s rules, and no one can blame you, more or less if your candidate doesn’t receive at least 15% at your caucus site, you must choose another candidate. Klobuchar, who has been polling between about 5-12% for the last few weeks, most likely will not receive 10% or more because many of the caucus locations will not have enough supporters for her to get any votes. Most of those caucus-goers will most likely go to Buttigieg or Biden. This is one of the only ways that Biden has any real chance to win.
Warren, on the other hand, has been regularly been at or above 15%. Sanders will not receive nearly as many second-choice voters because 15% will be just enough to keep those voters with Warren. More than that, many moderate Democrats see Biden as a consensus candidate and, when they see Sanders with a lead at their site, may choose to abandon their candidate to stymie Sanders.
Sanders’s momentum is nothing to be excused, though, and he has been surging both nationally and in Iowa. Many Iowans are still undecided, and will be until they arrive at their caucus tonight. But late-breaking votes towards Sanders would drown Biden and the other candidates. More than that, Sanders has an excellent ground-game in Iowa.
So where does that leave us? In my opinion, a Sanders victory, but one in which both Biden and Sanders receive a larger chunk of the caucus than the polls suggest. My prediction:
Other- The remaining votes.