How Important Are The Iowa Caucuses?

With the exception of running for a second term, unopposed, here are the winners of the Iowa Caucuses who have actually gone on to win the presidency:


2008 – Barack Obama


2000 – George W. Bush

Let’s look at who won the presidency without winning Iowa:

1980 – Ronald Reagan

1988 – George H. W. Bush (He actually polled 3rd)

1992 – Bill Clinton (Polled 4th)

Let’s look at some winners of Iowa who did not get their party’s nomination:

1972 – Edmund Muskie (Polled 2nd behind uncommitted)

1980 – George H.W. Bush

1988 – Bob Dole, Dick Gephardt

1992 – Tom Harkin

2008 – Mike Huckabee


From this small sample of data, I would say Iowa doesn’t mean a hell of a lot.

All we have to do is ask Ex-Presidents Dole, Gephardt, Harkin, Kerry, Muskie, and Huckabee.



Filed under Election 2012

6 responses to “How Important Are The Iowa Caucuses?

  1. I have always thought this notion that the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries deserve their position of importance is absurd.

    One argument for their status is that it is historical.

    New Hampshire has been the first primary since the 20’s. While this is 90 years, is it truly “historical” in a 200+ year old country?

    Iowa has only really had national prominence since the 70’s. This is considerably less historical than even New Hampshire.

    I have always thought we need the national parties to put an end to this monopoly and have a true national primary.

    I have taken the stance that we need to have a national primary day, not unlike the general election. Maybe have it later in the year, such as August, right before the conventions. One huge advantage to this is it might shorten the Presidential campaign a little bit from it’s current 4 year length.

  2. McCloud

    Agree with both of you. There’s too much triangulation and time wasted for these 2-3 early states. By the time the Tenn primary gets here half the candidates have dropped out.

    BTW, nice summary LA. Thanks for posting.

    • By the time Indiana votes, the nomination has been won. The exceptions I can remember was Ford Reagan in 76 and Obama Hillary 08.

      The pundits are basing the entire nomination on two states. I think Gingrich still leads is SC and FL, two states that have more delegates at stake than these first two.

      Romney may very well win in the end. But at this point to call it over is insane.

  3. LA,
    Just stopping by to wish you a Happy New Year. May your health be good. Health is the best gift of all.

  4. McCloud

    Oh, and happy new year as well.. ditto what AOW said

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