Iowa Predictions From Political Experts

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With the Iowa Caucuses for both Democrats and Republicans set to take place on Monday, February 3, New Boston Post reached out to an array of political experts via email to get their prediction on how it would go.

Here is what they had to say: 


1.  Mike Dukakis, former Massachusetts Governor and 1988 Democratic Party presidential nominee:

I haven’t a clue as to what is going to happen in Iowa, and this is going to be a long primary as mine was. I finally clinched the nomination in April, and I suspect that is about when this one will finally be decided.


2.  Oliver Lee Bateman, lawyer, former University of Texas at Arlington assistant professor, and freelance writer for MEL Magazine and Splice Today”

I’m betting on Bernie Sanders, but anything can happen and the media will surely overstate the importance of whatever that happens to be.


3.  Russ Smith, founder of New York Press and Splice Today

I really have no idea, although I’ll be making a bet with [my sons] Nicky and Booker.

But here’s my top 3:  Biden, Bernie, and Klobuchar. Biden and Bernie neck-to-neck, Klobuchar a surprisingly strong 3rd.


4.  Tom Tancredo, former U.S. Representative from Colorado and 2008 Republican primary presidential candidate:

Bernie in a landslide. (I hope and pray.)


5.  Geoff Diehl, 2018 Massachusetts Republican U.S. Senate nominee, former state representative, and 2020 Massachusetts Republican State Committee candidate:

As for Warren, I’ve said that ever since she pivoted from saying she was not running for President, until just after she was re-elected and made an about face just a few weeks later, that she would likely not last very long in the primary. 

She has amassed enough special interest money over the years to last into the early primary voting states, but once the people across the country got to know how inauthentic she is, I knew that it wouldn’t be long before it was clear that she has no shot.

Now that she’s settled firmly into fourth place in Iowa and New Hampshire, I think even Senator Warren knows the writing’s on the wall. Once these first two primary state confirm that Elizabeth Warren is totally out of step with not just America, but even the Democratic party, I think she will start looking for a polite exit by endorsing whomever she thinks will be the ultimate nominee — I wouldn’t put it past her to stick another knife in Bernie’s back and support Biden. 

I think her only long-term hope is for an unlikely Democratic win so that she can be considered for a cabinet post. It’s clear she has no real desire to work for Massachusetts, so it will be very interesting to see how she handles her position post-Presidential campaign.


6.  Jim McCormick, Professor and Chairman, Department of Political Science at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa:

My sense is that there are likely to be an array of “winners” since there are going to be three “votes” reported. In the initial division (at the beginning of the Democratic caucus), I would not be surprised if Sanders was first with Warren second, and Biden third.  After the rearrangement of those candidates not viable, I think that it will be a close call for Sanders and Biden with Warren and the other falling off. On the third reporting of “delegate equivalent,” we may have a virtual tie between Sanders and Biden. As you might expect, all of this is pretty dicey with turnout and last minute choices being pivotal.


7.  Dave Swenson, Associate Scientist in the Department of Economics, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa:

I’m a regional economist, so horserace politics is really not my forte. My best (40 years living here) guess is that there are three tickets out of Iowa:  Biden, Bernie, and Warren. All three have strong core supporters. Buttigeig comes in as an also ran despite his recent climb in the polls, as does Klobuchar. There has been really strong growth in metropolitan economies (Des Moines, Iowa City, Ames, especially) this decade. It will be interesting to see how strong turnout is this time around compared to last time.


8.  Dr. Karen M. Kedrowski, Director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa:

My post is that Senator Amy Klobuchar will surge and cross the 15% threshold to get delegates. This will give her campaign a boost going into the next contests.


9.  Kelly Winfrey, Ph.D. Coordinator, Research and Outreach, Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women & Politics at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa:

My prediction is that there will be at least two winners — a delegate count winner and a total vote count winner. I also think Amy Klobuchar will perform better than polls suggest.


10.  Dennis J. Goldford, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa:

I think that anyone would be foolish to make a prediction even at this point.  Polls are only as good as they were when their people were in the field, and we have had experience (e.g., 1980 presidential race) of substantial changes over the very last weekend before an election.  AT THIS POINT it still seems to be the case that Warren, Sanders, Biden, and Buttigieg are relatively knotted together, with Klobuchar hanging on the outside. The question is whether caucus night will actually alter these positions at all.  Remember:  the caucuses are not first and foremost about delegate numbers (Iowa Dems will have only 41 pledged delegates to the national convention out of 3979 —1.2% roughly), but about expectations:  who overperforms, who underperforms expectations?


11.  Mack Shelley, University Professor and Chairman, Department of Political Science at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa

Well, the easy one first is that Donald Trump will win the Iowa Republican caucuses. My guess is that there will be at best a couple percent support statewide for Walsh or Weld.

One thing to watch on the GOP side, however, is turnout. Trump’s visit yesterday in Des Moines may gin up turnout a bit. However, it may be worth noting that in Ames, which has 20 precincts, all of those will be meeting in a single location whereas in past caucuses each precinct had a separate building (sometimes two to a structure). That may be occasioned to worrisome optics of very few people in a room if the Republican precincts had met in separate geographical locales.

For the Democrats, turnout possibly could hit 250,000, which would be slightly more than the current record of roughly 240,000 who showed up in 2008.

Sanders has the most intensely committed supporters, and intensity is a pretty good predictor of who is going to show up and vote for their candidate. He also should benefit from a larger turnout. The new requirement that first-round supporters stay in their flock creates a different dynamic for the second-round affiliation, but from recent Iowa-based polling it appears that Sanders should come out on top considering first-preference, second-preference, and leaners. 

Not sure of the order otherwise, but it will be interesting to see if what appears to be a late surge for Klobuchar helps make her viable in enough precincts to score some delegates. I expect Biden, Warren, and Buttigieg, maybe in that order, also will do well enough to leave the state with enough support to continue on through at least Super Tuesday, particularly because they can spin any of three different sets of numbers to claim victory or at least to have exceeded expectations.