Iowa Democratic Caucus Trivia

Iowa Democratic Caucus Trivia Questions

Basic Questions:

How often does the winner of a contested Democratic Iowa caucus win the nomination? (1996 and 2012 were uncontested.) _

How often has the second-place candidate in Iowa won the nomination?

How often has a candidate that failed to win or place in Iowa won the nomination?

Side Issues:

How well does a candidate with regional ties tend to do in the Iowa caucus?

What are the exceptions to home field advantage?

What are the potential 2020 ramifications?


The winner of the Iowa contest got the nomination 6 times — Carter in 1980, Mondale in 1984, Gore in 2000, Kerry in 2004, Obama in 2008, and Clinton in 2016. There should be a footnote on 2016 though because the Sanders-Clinton race was basically a dead heat.

The second-place candidate NEVER got the nomination in this time period.

Clinton in 1992 and Dukakis in 1988 failed to either win or place in Iowa and both went on to get the nomination. In both years, the winner of Iowa had strong Midwest ties. Harkin, the home-state senator won a landslide. Gephardt the winner and Simon the placer were from Missouri and Illinois respectively.

The one exception to home field advantage in Iowa was 2004. Dean became the front runner and had a tough fight against Gephardt, the regional favorite who was unable to repeat his 1988 performance but had enough support to split the progressive vote. This led to Kerry’s victory in Iowa and the eventual nomination.

Implications for 2020: Watch for a surge by Butitieg or Klobuchar and the return of some sort of home field advantage. Klobuchar, especially, needs a home field boost to stay viable.

Sanders and Biden are cannibalizing each other. The most important outcome involves Warren who needs to beat Sanders somewhere in the first three states to stay viable.

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