Live blog of the Iowa Caucus(es)

I don’t know if I really ought to try this or not, but I’m going to be live blogging off and on all evening. I will be at home listening to some music, hopefully editing some photos, and following the results from the Iowa Caucus(es), so I’m going to make some posts here. This worked pretty well during the election days for Savannah officials in November and December, but of course on those days there was actually an audience that was curious about what I had to say. Probably not so much this time.

bill dawers February 1, 201611:57 pm

Well I’m going to call it a night. Interesting stories tonight — and I think there are a variety of openings for Republicans who did badly tonight.

bill dawers February 1, 201611:30 pm

It looks like Clinton will win by about 1 percent, and it appears the delegates will be split evenly 22-22 between her and Sanders.

Curiously, she is now giving what sounds like a victory speech — a good one — even though none of the networks have called the race.
Clinton just called herself a “progressive” and “reformer” — is this new language? I think so.
bill dawers February 1, 201611:18 pm

The AP is projecting that the Republican delegate breakdown looks like this, so far:

Cruz – 8
Trump – 7
Rubio – 6
Carson – 2
Paul – 1
bill dawers February 1, 201611:13 pm

With 91 percent reporting, Clinton’s lead is back up to .8 points. Some of those pro-Clinton counties are finally coming in.

bill dawers February 1, 201611:12 pm

Clinton vs. Sanders is still too close to call, and there are even conflicting reports online right now about how many of the 44 pledged delegates each of the candidates will get to the 2016 convention. The AP has it 21 delegates for Sanders and 20 for Clinton.

So no matter how the Democratic race is spun by the eventual winner, it looks like a virtual tie.
bill dawers February 1, 201610:55 pm

173 precincts have yet to report on the Democratic side, and over 100 of them are in counties where Clinton currently leads, so … looks like it’s going to be a while before anyone can call the state for her, however, if she is even going to win.

bill dawers February 1, 201610:51 pm

I keep saying that Clinton should have the edge in the remaining precincts, but with just under 90 percent of the vote in, Sanders is still edging up and Clinton is below 50 percent.

bill dawers February 1, 201610:47 pm

Politico has reported that Mike Huckabee has dropped out of the Republican race.

bill dawers February 1, 201610:41 pm

In Rubio’s speech right now in Iowa, broadcast on NPR, he is hitting the same anti-Clinton talking points in the ad I referenced earlier. He also said he would make the U.S. military the strongest in the world again — but of course the U.S. military is BY FAR the strongest in the world already.

bill dawers February 1, 201610:26 pm

Sanders continues to inch closer, so maybe there are enough votes to get him to a statistical tie (I still doubt it).

bill dawers February 1, 201610:14 pm

Hey, Sarah McCammon is on NPR.org right now.

Sarah works/worked at GPB here in Savannah before being tapped to cover the election for NPR through next fall.
bill dawers February 1, 201610:12 pm

With 77 percent reporting:

bill dawers February 1, 201610:10 pm

Clinton is up by less than 2 percent with 77 percent of the vote in, but of the precincts yet to report, well over half of them are in counties where Clinton currently leads.

bill dawers February 1, 201610:07 pm

NPR is reporting that O’Malley is dropping out of the race.

bill dawers February 1, 20169:58 pm

Looks like Sanders will take Clinton County.

bill dawers February 1, 20169:54 pm

With 72 percent in, Sanders has pulled within 1.6 points of Clinton, but she leads in large Polk County (Des Moines), where only 53 percent of the vote has been counted. So there are a lot of votes out there for her still, probably more than for Sanders from what I know of the geography.

bill dawers February 1, 20169:53 pm

I don’t watch much TV, but I’ve seen the Rubio ad in Georgia running with “highlights” from one of his debate appearances. I find it mind-numbingly depressing. He apparently wants to build his campaign here on the Clinton emails, Benghazi, and capturing and torturing ISIS members at Guantanamo.

As others have noted, whether you like Rubio and his politics or not, one of his best political instincts is to focus on the future and on the positive. The posture in the Georgia ad that I keep seeing does not reinforce any of those core themes.
bill dawers February 1, 20169:47 pm

With 56 percent of precincts reporting on the Republican side:

bill dawers February 1, 20169:42 pm

So my friend Jason just asked about the potential Bloomberg candidacy as an independent.

Bloomberg is a smart guy and he has to know that it would be exceedingly hard for a 3rd party candidate to garner enough electoral votes to become President, but he’s a smart guy — and super wealthy. If anyone could figure it all out, he could.
But I think Bloomberg would only get into the general election as an independent if Sanders were going to win on the Democratic side and if Trump, Cruz, or Carson were going to win on the Republican side. Clinton is still the odds-on favorite in the Democratic primaries (sorry, Sanders supporters), and Trump will look a lot less viable if he finishes second tonight in Iowa.
So I’d say the odds of a Bloomberg candidacy are super slim at the moment.
But I could be entirely wrong about that and about a lot of things.
bill dawers February 1, 20169:35 pm

Trump is doing better than I predicted earlier tonight, but he’s only got 26 percent of the vote and trails Cruz by 3 points right now. There are enough votes from enough corners of the state already in that I don’t expect to see dramatic changes to the current numbers.

So this will be in the news as Trump underperforming and his supporters not showing up when it counted. How will Trump respond then?
bill dawers February 1, 20169:33 pm

So the top three candidates on the Republican side (Cruz, Trump, Rubio) have over 75 percent of the vote in Iowa so far. If Bush, Christie, or Kasich are going to break out of the pack, they’ll need a good showing in New Hampshire, probably, or their campaigns might be done.

bill dawers February 1, 20169:23 pm

And click here for the Republican map.

bill dawers February 1, 20169:22 pm

bill dawers February 1, 20169:18 pm

Click here for a user friendly map of the Democratic caucuses by the Iowa Democratic party.

bill dawers February 1, 20169:15 pm

What an ugly night this looks like for Bush, Fiorina, Kasich, and Christie — four of the candidates who might have somehow laid claim to the establishment Republican support. It sure looks like we’ll see establishment types rallying around Rubio from here on — because they might have few other places to go.

bill dawers February 1, 20169:11 pm

With more than a third of the Democratic vote reported, Clinton is up 51.8 to Sanders’ 47.6. O’Malley has less than 1 percent. Will O’Malley quit after tonight?

And who will quit on the Republican side? Carson?
bill dawers February 1, 20168:59 pm
A long way to go still, but this is shaping up to be a solid night for Clinton, and Sanders can still head to New Hampshire, where he will likely win, as a solid contender.

bill dawers February 1, 20168:44 pm

Click here for the updated results at the Des Moines Register.

With 6+ percent reporting, Clinton 53 to 46 over Sanders.
bill dawers February 1, 20168:39 pm

74, 69, 68

Do those numbers trouble anyone else? Those are the ages right now of Sanders, Trump, and Clinton, respectively. As Jim Morekis of Connect Savannah pointed out a while back, American voters have never opted to go back so far when they elect a new president. Obama is 54, so we couldn’t quite say that the main contenders represent an older “generation” (even if Martin O’Malley thinks so), but this would be a remarkable election in American history if we elect someone born in the 1940s after having had a president born in the 1960s.
bill dawers February 1, 20168:34 pm

Btw, for Savannahians: the Shabazz hit-and-run trial started today and will go to the jury on Tuesday. Check out Jan Skutch’s coverage in the Savannah Morning News.

bill dawers February 1, 20168:31 pm

So I’m trying to embed a couple of tweets, but the embedding function doesn’t seem to be working for some reason.

Anyway, entrance polls show Clinton and Trump leading, and Rubio doing better than expected. FWIW. Sanders is killing Clinton among 18-29 year olds — 9 to 1 — but that’s still a small percentage of the overall vote.
bill dawers February 1, 20168:26 pm
bill dawers February 1, 20168:13 pm

Btw, according to FiveThirtyEight, about 25 percent of the results will be reported by 10 p.m. Eastern, and about 90 percent by 11 p.m. That’s if the pattern from 2012 holds.

bill dawers February 1, 20168:11 pm

I don’t know what’s going to happen on the Democratic side, but I’ll go with the polls and call it virtually 50/50.

I will share an unpopular opinion, however — at least with the young folks who make up so much of my Facebook feed. Bernie Sanders, who I think might make a good President in many respects, has ZERO chance of getting a single-payer/”Medicare for all” plan through Congress in the next 8 years.

Single payer polls pretty well in the aggregate, but the division between Republicans and Democrats is stark. Republicans currently control both houses of Congress, and there are relatively few competitive House districts. Yes, it’s possible that we could see Democratic gains, but the odds of both a Democratic House and a filibuster proof Democratic majority in the Senate are basically nil for the next several cycles.
I’m in favor of single payer. My parents were on Medicare for a combined 45 years before their deaths, and I have pretty much nothing but good things to say about the program. Eventually, America will move to a single payer system, I bet, but I don’t see any reason for that bruising battle right now.
bill dawers February 1, 20168:00 pm

On the Republican side, I’m expecting a good night for Ted Cruz, who seems to be doing well with evangelicals and social conservatives. Remember that in 2012, Iowa Republicans put Santorum at the top, fractionally ahead of Romney, though the immediate coverage said that Romney had won. In 2008, Huckabee (really?) won the Republican caucus with about one third of the vote.

In 1988 and 1996, the Pats (Robertston and Buchanan) did not win, but they both took about 25 percent.
So I’m expecting Cruz to win, and if I’m right about Trump, then the race will be wide open as the focus shifts to New Hampshire.
bill dawers February 1, 20167:47 pm

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I think this will be a “bad” night for Donald Trump, which I would define as anything less than 20 percent support. I’m thinking about two things:

1) many of Trump’s supporters are apparently relatively infrequent voters. Despite the passion at his rallies, I doubt that his supporters will show up in numbers as large as the supporters of, say, Ted Cruz.
2) if there is debate within the individual caucuses, and if there are pointed questions for Trump supporters about their reasons for that support, won’t the policy emptiness of his campaign become clearer?
bill dawers February 1, 20167:45 pm

So I’ve got my eye tonight on a variety of media outlets, but I’ll especially be following the live blog at FiveThirtyEight, the site spearheaded by statistician Nate Silver. I’m a numbers guy, and I like his team’s seriousness about the data.

For example, there’s a post up right now about the fact that Iowa won’t really tell us how well Sanders will do with black voters in other parts of the country, especially in the swath of southern states that will vote on 3/1. If Clinton does very well among black Democrats in upcoming contests, Sanders will have a very difficult time overcoming that advantage.
Why won’t we get a better signal about black voters from the Iowa results? Because there are so few of them. From FiveThirtyEight right now:


Iowa’s racial demographics don’t match America’s. Non-Hispanic whites make up 87.1 percent of the state’s population, compared with 62.1 percent of the U.S. population. Iowa is 3.4 percent black, while the nation is 13.2 percent black.