Tuesday :: Jan 1, 2008

The Iowa Caucuses are officially a farce!


by Turkana

David Yepsen, of the Des Moines Register, is the most respected political analyst in Iowa. Tucked into his analysis of the new Register poll, which shows Barack Obama breaking out to a legitimate lead, is a little nugget that succinctly explains why Iowa should not matter.

A lot of Democratic caucus-goers aren't all that Democratic. Some 40 percent of the Democratic caucus-goers say they are independents, and another 5 percent say they are Republicans. (Technically, they'll all have to re-register as Democrats to participate, but that can be done at the caucus site.) Put another way, 54 percent of the Democratic caucus-goers say they're Democrats. In 2004, it was 80 percent.

In other words, the caucus that could launch or break campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination will be largely determined by people who do not represent the Democratic Party. This should be a stop-the-presses headline, and it should be the number one point emphasized by all who truly care about the Democratic Party. Iowa is officially a farce!

Yepsen also points out that the new polling should not be taken as seriously as it is, by some.

Last-minute developments won't be reflected. In 2004, 21 percent of those who showed up at Democratic caucuses decided who they'd support in the last three days of the campaign. This poll won't reflect those decisions because it came out of the field on Sunday night -- four days before people vote.

In other words, Obama supporters might want to wait, before popping that champagne.

Some support is soft. Of those who have decided on a candidate, 34 percent of the Democrats say they could still be persuaded to change their minds. Among Republicans, it's 46 percent.

Did I mention that Obama supporters might want to wait, before popping that champagne?

And just to be fair, CNN has Hillary ahead, and InsiderAdvantage has Edwards cleaning up with the critical second choice votes of supporters of then second tier candidates. So, the polling still shows that it's anyone's race to win or lose, but Yepsen's point is the one that matters. Let me post it again:

A lot of Democratic caucus-goers aren't all that Democratic. Some 40 percent of the Democratic caucus-goers say they are independents, and another 5 percent say they are Republicans. (Technically, they'll all have to re-register as Democrats to participate, but that can be done at the caucus site.) Put another way, 54 percent of the Democratic caucus-goers say they're Democrats. In 2004, it was 80 percent.

This Democrat wants Democrats to decide our nominee. Some crossover may happen, in states with open primaries, but these numbers are huge and absurd. With the race this tight, it's clear that Democrats won't be deciding the Iowa Democratic Caucus results. And for all practical purposes, that should nullify the entire endeavor.

Turkana :: 10:03 AM :: Comments (19) :: Spotlight :: Digg It!