Ping (zestyping) wrote,
Ping
zestyping

What does Iowa turnout mean?

So by now everyone knows that Obama and Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses. But perhaps less well known is the dramatic difference in voter turnout — between Democratic and Republican, and in 2008 compared to previous years.

Iowa Caucus Turnout, 2000–2008
2000
60 760
87 666
2004
124 000
  uncontested (George W. Bush)
2008
221 000
116 114

Some of the numbers above are approximate, but the trend is clear: a huge increase in Democratic caucus participants (78% more than in 2004, and 90% more Democrats than Republicans this year). My understanding is that the Democratic caucuses also require more time and involvement than the Republican ones. All of this adds up to a lot of enthusiastic Democrats — at least in Iowa.

Here's what that looks like if you break down each bar according to the proportion of support that each candidate received.

Iowa Caucus Vote Distribution, 2000–2008
2000
BradlGore
BushForbesKeB
2004
GeDeanEdwardsKerry
  uncontested (George W. Bush)
2008
ClintonEdwardsObama
HuckabeeRomneyThoMcPa

What do you think this means for the election as a whole? Is this phenomenon local to Iowa, or is it a sign of things to come?

Sources: MSNBC, AP, CNN, Eric Appleman.

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