Greetings. It’s finally time. In less than 24 hours, the first real voting of the 2020 Presidential Season will happen. This year, I get to make three sets of predictions. Unlike past Iowa caucuses, where only the percentage and amount of State Delegate Equivalents (SDEs) was released, this time, we’ll get a head count of supporters for each candidate, then the count after supporters for the candidates who failed to reach 15% in their caucus precinct found a new home, and then the SDE count.
I can’t hazard a guess on which of these three numbers the media will care most about or the candidates can exploit the best. But I can project what will happen on each round. Though we never got the final CNN/Des Moines Register/Selzer poll, there’s still plenty to review:
Final FiveThirtyEight Iowa Odds
Final Real Clear Politics Iowa Average
Final FiveThirtyEight Iowa Poll Average
If you peruse, you’ll notice nobody is closing super strong. Bernie Sanders had a great first half of January. He’s in great shape overall. But he hasn’t gained in the past week. Amy Klobuchar’s mini-surge seems to have hit the wall. Elizabeth Warren hasn’t leapt forward after the last debate. Pete Buttigieg appears stalled. Andrew Yang’s 17 day bus tour helped his favorability ratings, but he’s still stuck in mid-single digits. Tom Steyer isn’t going anywhere. Tulsi Gabbard matters in New Hampshire, but not here.
So my guess is Yang only reaches viability in caucus precincts that are on or very near a college campus. And even then, not always. Klobuchar will get to viability in some rural areas, and some upscale suburbs, but not often enough to accomplish what she needs. The first of these is a plus for Sanders, the second a minus. If Klobuchar should reach 15% in the majority of precincts, it virtually guarantees a Sanders victory.
He’s the consensus polling leader. The way Biden, Buttigieg, or Warren catches him is by picking up an outsized chunk of Klobuchar support in round two. Well, looks like they’ll have that opportunity. However, Yang voters are most likely to go to Sanders, and he will have the chance to pick some up. There hasn’t been much polling on where Steyer voters might move. If this winds up very close, that couple/few percent could make the difference.
A few other quick notes. Biden has a disadvantage on the ground. Warren, Buttigieg, and Sanders have better teams, and more inspired voters. But older voters are the most reliable, and that’s Biden’s base. Where things might not balance out for him is trying to convince Klobuchar voters to go to him instead of Buttigieg, if Mayor Pete’s precinct teams and voters have more energy. Same issue if Warren is wooing Klobuchar voters who would like to support a female candidate and Biden’s team isn’t sharp and enthused.
On to the picks: Continue reading “Iowa Preview: Final Predictions”