Iowa Democratic caucuses: live commentary

Live commentary on the US Iowa Democratic caucuses. Also: Sinn Féin surges ahead of Saturday’s Irish election. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

9:27am Sunday The exit poll for Saturday’s Irish election has been released.  The governing Fine Gael has 22.4%, the far-left Sinn Fein 22.3% and Fianna Fail 22.2%, so there’s only 0.2% between the top three parties.  The Greens have 7.9%.  The full exit poll is in the comments.  No vote counting in Ireland until tonight AEDT.

5:15pm Friday With all precincts reporting, Buttigieg provisionally wins Iowa’s state delegate count by 0.1%.  However, the AP will not declare a winner owing to irregularities.  We will probably never know for sure who won Iowa’s state delegate count.

Sanders won both of the popular vote measures.  He won the “initial” vote by 3.5% and the “final” vote by 1.5%.

4:37pm This tweet explains why Sanders is doing so well with these satellite caucuses.

4:35pm Late counting Iowa drama!  I’m not sure what the “satellite caucuses” are, but there were four of them, one for each of Iowa’s Congressional Districts.  Three of them have reported, and they are all very strong for Sanders.  There’s still one to go.

With 97% in, Buttigieg now leads Sanders by just three state delegates or 0.15%.  Sanders leads by 3.5% on the “initial” popular vote, and by 1.5% on the “final” popular vote.

10:41am In the FiveThirtyEight post-Iowa model, Biden’s chance of winning a pledged delegate majority has plunged from 43% to 21%, with Sanders up to 37%.  The probability that nobody wins a pledged delegate majority (contested convention) is up to 27%.

10:20am Thursday More Iowa results!  With 86% in, Buttigieg leads Sanders by 26.7% to 25.4% on state delegates, the measure the US media is using to call a winner.  Warren has 18.3%, Biden 15.8% and Klobuchar 12.1%.

On two other measures, Sanders is still ahead.  He leads Buttigieg by 24.3% to 21.6% on “initial” popular votes.  He leads by 26.1% to 25.5% on “final” popular votes after realignment.

4:05pm 71% of precincts are now in for the Dem Iowa caucus.  The latest 9% haven’t made much difference to the figures.

2:50pm My Conversation article on these caucuses is up.  We need to see if there’s a significant impact on national polls from these results.  The next contest is New Hampshire on February 11; polls close by 12pm February 12 AEDT.

There was a big moment in Trump’s State of the Union address today.  At the end of the speech, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi literally tore it up.

10:30am New York Times analyst Nate Cohn says results reported so far are representative of the whole state.

10am Wednesday We FINALLY have more Iowa results.  With 62% of precincts reporting, Buttigieg leads Sanders by 27% to 25% on State Delegate Equivalents, the traditional measure that most of the media has focussed on.  Warren has 18%, Biden 16% and Klobuchar 13%.

On the two other measures, Sanders leads.  He leads on the “initial” popular votes by 24.5% to 21.4% for Buttigieg.  He leads on the “final” popular votes after realignment by 26% to 25%.

8:15pm More than EIGHT hours after the caucuses began, still only 2% has been reported!  I hope we have better results by tomorrow morning.

3:57pm In Ireland, a new poll has Sinn Fein in outright first on 25%, with Fianna Fail on 23%, Fine Gael 20% and the Greens 8%.

3:43pm Nate Silver

3:15pm Turnout at these caucuses in on pace for 2016.  In 2016, 172,000 participated in the Iowa Dem caucuses, well down from the record 240,000 in 2008.  In 2008, the Dems had a charismatic candidate in Barack Obama.

3:05pm With 1.9% in, Sanders is on top with 28% followed by Warren at 25%, Buttigieg 24%, Klobuchar 12% and Biden just 11%.

2:57pm On the Dem side, we’ve only got 32 of 1,765 precincts reporting their post-realignment votes.  Much slower than in 2016, when 85% had reported by this time.

2:55pm In 2016, 187,000 votes were cast in the Republican Iowa caucuses.   With 83% in, 29,000 votes have been cast in 2020.

2:35pm Still only 1.7% counted, with Buttigieg leading Sanders by 1.3% after realignment.  Biden down to 14%.  Hurry up!!

1:56pm In the Republican caucus, Trump has over 96% of the vote.  Republicans love Trump.

1:54pm By “after realignment”, I mean after the initial division.  Candidates polling below 15% in a particular precinct are declared unviable, and their supporters are asked to pick a viable candidate.  Candidates originally declared unviable can become viable if they pick up enough to make it over 15% in the second round.  It’s explained in this Conversation article.

1:50pm The AP has Buttigieg leading Sanders by 27% to 24% on final alignment numbers, followed by 19.5% for Biden, 15% Warren and 14% Klobuchar.  1.3% of precincts are in.

1:40pm The New York Times results page now gives Sanders 408 final votes (after realignment presumably), Buttigieg 380, Biden 310, Warren 277 and Klobuchar 176.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The final RealClearPolitics poll average for Iowa gave Bernie Sanders 24.2%, Joe Biden 20.2%, Pete Buttigieg 16.4%, Elizabeth Warren 15.6% and Amy Klobuchar 8.6%. As I noted in Friday’s Conversation article, polling for these caucuses has often been inaccurate. The caucuses begin at 12pm AEDT, and the process is described in that article. I will begin commenting on the results about 1:30pm after I return from bridge.

Elsewhere, the far-left Sinn Féin has surged in the Irish polls ahead of this Saturday’s election. Sinn Féin is equal first with Fianna Fáil in one recent poll, and two points behind in another. There is a chance that the two dominant Irish parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, will fail to win a combined majority of the seats. Both these parties are conservative. Other parties likely to win seats are left-wing, so a left majority is a possibility.

Polls in Ireland close at 10pm local time (9am Sunday AEDT). Exit polls will be released then, but no votes are counted until the next morning (Sunday evening AEDT). As Ireland uses Tasmania’s Hare-Clark system, it is likely to take at least a few days to finalise all counting.

And in Britain, Boris Johnson appears to want a hard Brexit on December 31, when the transition period ends.

708 comments on “Iowa Democratic caucuses: live commentary”

  1. Bloomberg’s entry is certainly going to be interesting! I can’t see him winning the nomination in spite of the money he’s throwing at it. What I will be waiting to see is where he draws his support from. I suspect he will end up hurting other moderates by splitting the moderate vote. I certainly can’t see him hurting Sanders, so his entry probably helps him-1 by splitting the vote, and 2-helps to focus a message about billionaires buying elections. So come in Bloomberg I say!

  2. I think we might accurately describe Bloomberg as a “phantom menace.”

    According to nationwide polls, he’s scoring 8.3 per cent of the vote. There are a lot of states for which we don’t have state -specific polling, but – in terms of large states – he’s doing significantly worse than 8.3 per cent in California and Texas, and, as one would expect, significantly better in Florida (but still only around 12 per cent). I would assume that he would be doing much, much better than 12 per cent in New York and New Jersey. He’s also above 10 per cent in a random bunch of smaller states, including Missouri and Washington.

    It’s hard to imagine he would do well at all in the Deep South, where the African-Americans and the rednecks are probably even less fond of Jewish billionaires from New York than they are of gay people.

    And he’s not going to be on the ballot in quite a few states.

    All in all, it doesn’t add up to anything much at all IMO. To be any sort of a chance, he’d want to be doing a lot better in California and Florida than he seems to be doing so far.

    Perhaps he’d say his main aim is not to win the nomination but to disrupt things, particularly the Sanders campaign. But, no matter how much money he spends, I can’t see that he can do a lot to hurt Sanders, or Warren for that matter. It seems to me that the two candidates he’s got the best chance of disrupting are Buttigeig and Biden: the two candidates who have policy positions closer to his.

    He should give up right away on the basis of the precautionary principle: ie, because of the risk that his continuing candidacy might do more harm than good to the aims he is trying to achieve.

  3. Some humorous comments regarding people’s eagerness to jump the gun on 62% of the vote counted including this one: “Just finished 62% of Titanic and Rose and Jack’s future seems really bright.”

  4. C@t

    You’re right of course that the US got SSM before we did and without a ridiculous plebiscite. This however wasn’t any particular measure of tolerance, it happened through the courts. I don’t believe for a second that it would have happened through the political system. I’m certainly not arguing that parts of the US aren’t very tolerant of diversity etc, and some of the most tolerant areas have some of the biggest populations. What I think I and some others are doubting though is that certain communities are going to come out, embrace and vote for a gay candidate, particularly but not just in the south. I may be proven wrong, but I just can’t see it happening.

  5. Firefox: “Or how the ACT only has 2 Senators with a population of around 400,000, while Tassie has 12 Senators for a population of around 500,000.”

    These things are simple to explain: Australia is a federation which all parties (the six states) joined under terms negotiated and agreed to apply in perpetuity. NZ could have joined as well, but ultimate chose not to do so. And, if they had so wished, the other five states could have decided that Tasmania was too small and insignificant to play with them, and cut us adrift.

    We could then have achieve our rightful destiny: the one that was rudely snatched from us in the early 19th: ie, becoming a French colony with all the resulting benefits in terms of cuisine, wine, language, culture, female attire, etc, etc

    But the other States wanted us in, and a deal’s a deal.

  6. C@tmomma @ #346 Wednesday, February 5th, 2020 – 11:52 am

    America is a lot more tolerant than Australia. They have had SSM for longer than us, and not enacted after a silly plebiscite thingy. They have had legalised marijuana for years in many states and we can’t even get it in the ACT!

    Sure, there are pockets of intolerance and bigotry, and because it’s such a big place those things are magnified, but they are also leaders in battling bigotry and intolerance.

    Sounds like a country that might elect a genuinely progressive President. Great news!

  7. MB

    Pretty much spot on with your observations I think, which is why I think Bloomberg’s candidacy helps rather than hurts Sanders. I just don’t see any scenario where Bloomberg can hurt Sanders, or as you say even Warren.

  8. c@tmomma: I don’t know much about Lil Nas X, but I note that has worked with Billy Ray Cyrus and has won a Country Music Association award. I therefore don’t think he would have too much credibility among the gangsta rap community.

    He’s probably more in this sort of space

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZRePZ1OqQE

    (It’s worth watching for a giggle folks, if you’ve got a minute.)

  9. meher baba,
    Lil Nas X is just being true to himself:

    Lil Nas X is still enjoying the success of his “Old Town Road” smash having become Billboard’s longest-running No. 1 single of all-time. But he says the impact of coming out has meant just as much to his skyrocketing career.

    On the final day of Pride month, X revealed that he is gay and believed that he made it obvious, citing the lyrics of his song “C7osure.” In response, many celebs ranging from Irv Gotti to Dwyane Wade to Tamar Braxton spoke out in support of the MC.

    READ MORE: Lil Nas X on why he didn’t intend to come out as gay publicly and the perfect way he deals with bullies

    While Lil Nas X, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, has shared his story online via his Twitter account, he has provided more insight on how coming out assisted his personal growth.

    “Live your life to its fullest potential and don’t really care too much about what other people think of you. I used to say that cliché, but I never really lived by it, until now,” Nas X shared with the British edition of GQ Magazine in an interview.

    “Since I came out, people have been coming up to me saying, ‘You’re making a way for us.”

    It’s lonely sometimes for trailblazers and there is always a backlash, but without them, nothing ever changes. For the better.

  10. Matt31,
    I’m simply inspired by the fact that Iowans voted for an African American in the 2008 Caucasus. It seems as though that, mostly White, Rural and Industrial State has voted for an openly gay man as well.

    If they can do it…..?

  11. “C@tmomma says:
    Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at 12:50 pm
    Barnaby Joyce is dumping on Wind Turbines because they look bad!
    Has he had a look in the mirror lately? ”

    Barnaby joins those super handsome gents who hate wind turbines – Hockey and Trump.

  12. Watching the State of the Union address.

    Missed it but why the Democrat women are all predominantly in white. Any reason?

    Oh and the words of Oil and Gas are mentioned and all Republicans stand and applaud. My god, most of those men belong in nursing homes.

  13. c@tmomma: “I’m simply inspired by the fact that Iowans voted for an African American in the 2008 Caucasus. It seems as though that, mostly White, Rural and Industrial State has voted for an openly gay man as well.”

    True, but the big difference for me was that the African-American guy who won Iowa in 2008 then swept on to victory through a wide band of states with large populations of African-Americans (Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana).

    I just can’t see Buttigeig having the same sort of run in those states, so – given that you can’t win the Democratic nomination purely on the basis of doing well in the mid-West, he’ll have to do much better in some more gay-friendly places where Obama didn’t go so well: eg, New York and California and perhaps Florida. And he’ll need to replicate Obama’s strong 2008 performance in Illinois.

    Currently, Mayor Pete is polling around 16 per cent in Illinois, which is promising, but only around 7 per cent in each of New York and California and around 5 per cent in Florida. He’s going to need a massive amount of “momentum” coming out of the Iowa result to turn this around.

    BTW, further to my earlier comments about Bloomberg, I’ve tracked down some polling results for NY and NJ: he’s on 17 per cent in the former and 9 per cent in the latter. To have any sort of chance whatsoever, he’ll need to lift these levels of support dramatically, and likewise in Florida and California.

  14. kirky:

    They did last year too.

    The Democratic women of Congress arrived wearing white yet again as a way to show their unity and a commitment to defending the rights of women and disenfranchised groups at the 2020 State of the Union address.

    One hundred years after the ratification of the 19th amendment, which gave some women the right to vote, this year, the Democratic Women’s Caucus organized the style statement. They announced their decision to wear white as a show of solidarity in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon ahead of the State of the Union address.

    The decision to wear white is an homage to the white outfits often worn by suffragists during their fight to get women’s votes recognized.

    https://time.com/5777514/women-wearing-white-state-of-the-union/

  15. Some humorous comments regarding people’s eagerness to jump the gun on 62% of the vote counted including this one: “Just finished 62% of Titanic and Rose and Jack’s future seems really bright.”

    I mean, if you watched a randomly-chosen 62% of scenes from the movie I think you’d have a fairly good idea how it went.

  16. I’ve seen some commentary on Bloomberg’s polling in the later-voting states to the effect that his advertising there had so far been “pushing on an open door”, because the front-runners have yet to start focussing on those states yet.

  17. Thanks Confessions.

    For some reason I didn’t watch last years State of the Union but wanted to see what the Trumpster was going to go on about this year.

  18. caf: “I’ve seen some commentary on Bloomberg’s polling in the later-voting states to the effect that his advertising there had so far been “pushing on an open door”, because the front-runners have yet to start focussing on those states yet.”

    And yet, the maximum extent to which the “door” has opened to him anywhere is 17 per cent in New York, which doesn’t seem all that much given that he was the Mayor of NYC until recently.

    There doesn’t seem to have been an opinion poll in Indiana since early last year, but, when there is, I’m sure Buttigieg would be hoping to do a fair bit better than 17 per cent in it, and South Bend doesn’t wield the sort of demographic clout in that state that NYC does in New York State.

    I’d say that, on the basis of current evidence, Bloomberg lacks much of a constituency in any part of the nation beyond downtown Manhattan.

  19. meher baba,
    I believe that Mike Bloomberg is giving the Democratic nomination a tilt but that his prime objective is to blast Trump out of office. To that end he probably needed to have a campaign edifice in place to run that nationwide effort. I am grateful he didn’t decide to run as an Independent which would have taken votes away from the Democrats. Though, when you look at his policies they aren’t that different from the bulk of the Dem policies. Winning the nomination would be a bonus though not essential to his plan.

  20. I’d say that, on the basis of current evidence, Bloomberg lacks much of a constituency in any part of the nation beyond downtown Manhattan.

    I think that’s true, he’s the only one of the major candidates with a net-unfavourable rating among the Democratic primary electorate I believe.

  21. C@tmomma @ #348 Wednesday, February 5th, 2020 – 8:54 am

    AngoraFish @ #344 Wednesday, February 5th, 2020 – 11:50 am

    @C@tmomma Lil Nas X is the Billy Crosby of rap. His primary appeal is to white guys.

    Also, he’s a one hit wonder so ‘biggest’ is a bit misleading, as is calling him a ‘rapper’.

    So, I should point out how many famous LGBTQI stars there are in America instead? How about I start with Ellen?

    Going back to the dark old days when that kind of thing was well and truly in the closet, Liberace did alright for himself.

  22. Big fan of Buttigieg – however, he cannot win. Buttigieg has a huge problem with the African American vote (non existant). I just don’t see a path to victory for him.

    The token line up of black females in his Iowa “victory” speech reminds me of a Trump rally.

  23. So, when it comes time to vote, if it’s Buttigieg VS Trump, are people here trying to tell me that African Americans would rather vote for Trump, or not turn up, which is an effective virtual vote for Trump!?!

  24. c@tmomma: “meher baba,
    I believe that Mike Bloomberg is giving the Democratic nomination a tilt but that his prime objective is to blast Trump out of office. To that end he probably needed to have a campaign edifice in place to run that nationwide effort. I am grateful he didn’t decide to run as an Independent which would have taken votes away from the Democrats. Though, when you look at his policies they aren’t that different from the bulk of the Dem policies. Winning the nomination would be a bonus though not essential to his plan.”

    I can’t help feeling that, a few years back, Bloomberg entertained ideas of running for the Dem nomination when Obama retired, then decided for whatever reason that he couldn’t run against Hillary. And then he probably thought that he’d missed his chance. And then he realised that two guys of similar vintage to him were serious contenders for the nomination, and he thought “if them, why not me?”

    But, as you say, he seems to have left it far too late. And he’s not a natural politician: neither is Trump, of course, but Trump is a first-rate salesman, especially of himself. Bloomberg just isn’t the same sort of a guy.

  25. c@tmomma: “So, when it comes time to vote, if it’s Buttigieg VS Trump, are people here trying to tell me that African Americans would rather vote for Trump, or not turn up, which is an effective virtual vote for Trump!?!”

    What I’m trying to tell you is that I can’t see any sort of a path to the nomination for Buttigeig, barring a massive and unexpected upsurge of support for him in states like New York, California and Florida.

    If that unlikely upsurge of support is achieved and Buttigeig does get the nomination, then I would expect to see a further decline in the African-American turnout (which already fell by around 4 percentage points between 2012 and 2016). The reduced number who do show up can be expected predominantly to vote for Buttigeig. I would also have concerns about how Buttigeig would go with the burgeoning Latino sector of the electorate.

    Studies have shown that those Latinos and African-Americans who vote regularly in elections tend to be more likely to have jobs and generally stable lives: ie, your gangsta types don’t tend to show up to polling booths other than perhaps to sell some sell some drugs to the white folk.

    This group is also highly likely to be devoutly Christian, and attending churches (Catholic, Baptist, etc) that are much more socially conservative than the gay-friendly Episcopalians.

    I think it’s fantastic that an openly gay man is making a go of it in the most important political campaign on the planet. But it’s pretty obvious that the fact that his sexuality is going to be a significant hindrance to him as the campaign progresses. It’s not fair, but I reckon it’s how it is.

  26. Remember that you need at least 15% in any Congressional District or state to get any delegates from that state or CD. Bloomberg at 8% won’t cross the 15% threshold in enough places to matter. He’ll help Sanders if that happens.

  27. “My point still stands – Bernie has 4000 more votes than Pete and yet somehow is behind him.

    The reason for that is the exact same effect of a gerrymander.”

    The reason is that Bernie’s campaign fought to keep the caucus when others in the party wanted more primaries.

    The process locks out people who for whatever reason can’t get to a school hall to stand around for 3 hours yelling at each other.

  28. I know we’re supposed to vote for policy not personality, but it still brings a small lump to my throat that one of *my* people is running for President. #pete

  29. All the candidates have something which statistically makes them less likely to become POTUS.

    Pete is gay.
    Warren is female.
    Bloomberg is Jewish.
    Sanders is really old.
    Biden is a gaffe machine.

    But at least none of them are atheists. That is the biggest hurdle and last to fall.

  30. @Blobbit We already have that thread running constantly on pollbludger.

    The reason that’s normally given is that unlike Hillary Clinton Bernie is insufficiently centrist and puts off independent voters because socialism. Given that Trump is neither particularly centrist nor especially appealing to independent voters it seems to me that there are multiple problems with those claims.

    I think you misunderstand the most favoured excuse though. ‘Media’ is the reason that centrists give when they lose elections. The reason Bernie will be able to give for losing the election is constant white-anting from within his own party.

  31. Every one of the democrats’ target demographics loves Oprah.

    Just saying. …

    Politics as we know it in America is dead. It’s all show business – reality TV and Social Media style nowadays and the Democrats need a Trumpian antidote to that. Not a policy wonk. Not a ‘steady hand’ vanilla snore machine either. …

  32. “ The reason Bernie will be able to give for losing the election is constant white-anting from within his own party.”

    Good. Very good. Practicing this incessant excuse for Bernie’s likely wipeout in November: it wont be the voters who were repelled by Bernie’s socialism or steam roller Medicare for all with a massive tax hike agenda. No: it was the enemy within that dun it! Just like the enemy within killed Jezza. Purge purge the enemy within. Purge. We must have Purity!!!!! That’s what will make all those capitalism loving independents turn commie! Of course …

  33. “ Oprah. Lol.”

    I would have lolled along with you comrade. But I’ve had an epiphany. I seriously think it’s (a reality TV superstar) is the only option. Either Oprah or Boston Rob from Survivor.

  34. “ Bernie and Joe are both 6” and are the tallest Dems but way shorter than Trump who is 6”3’.”

    I was watching some footage of Trump on Letterman back in 1987. He certainly looked 6’3” 3 decades ago. I reckon he’s actually shrunk a couple of inches since then.

  35. “ Shall we do a thread about reasons why Bernie lost the Presidential election?

    My guess is that the most favoured excuse will be “media”.”

    Lols. While FoxNews, Breitbart and all the other pirates will stir up an already inflamed republicvnt base Bernie will get a much fairer run out of the big 3 TV networks, CNBC, CNN etc than Shorten got here from our ‘non murdoch’ media. Plus he will have his own money, contributions from the DNC and at least Bloomberg’s war chest to saturate TV ads and social media. So in the race to ‘get out the vote’ he will have no ‘media’ excuses available.

    That’s why then line will be “evil centrists’ and ‘the enemy within’ and ‘the system is rigged’ blah de blah. Rinse and Repeat.

    The fact that his particular brand of politics – whist inspiring to the politically engaged on the left – is actually repellant to 60% of Americans as a whole will be airbrushed out. The BernieBros are already positioning themselves for this message now …

  36. @Andrew_Earlwood come back to me when you have an explanation for why centrism works so well for the left, as it did for Madam President Clinton, when it’s self evidently completely unnecessary for those on the right.

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