January 27, 2016

Iowa Caucuses

It’s January 26th, which means its only a week away until the official start of presidential nomination race — the Iowa caucuses that will be held on February 1st. Iowa has been the start of the presidential nomination caucuses for both the democratic and republican party since 1976. And, since then, Iowa has maintained its important status as the “first-in-the-nation”. 

Bracing myself for the caucuses, I read Anthony Gaughan’s opinion piece in Newsweek — “Five Things You Should Know About the Iowa Caucuses” — to make sure I know what’s going on before it actually happens. 

The article talks about the importance of the Iowa caucuses, especially in predicting the nominee for the Democratic party. The most recent example? In January of 2008, Barack Obama beat current candidate Hillary Clinton in the Iowa caucuses. Seeing as he won the election and thus the candidacy, the Iowa caucuses has a strong effect on the overall outcome of the presidential race.

So, let’s see if this will be the case of the 2016 caucuses.

According to the most recent CNN/ORC Poll, Clinton currently has a lead over Sanders of 52% to 38%. As a Hillary supporter, her lead is welcome but the narrowing margin is a bit discomforting. 

Sanders is gaining most of his support from young Democratic voters as well as those who identify themselves as independents. After taking numerous courses about public opinion and voting behavior, it’s pretty much a given fact that young voters tend to not make an appearance at the voting polls. Even I, as a poli-sci major, haven’t voted in the last presidential election in Korea, nor the last election for the Seoul major. 

It will be difficult for Sanders to transfer the support he has from young Democrats into actual votes for him at the caucuses. Clinton has a more stable backing, gaining much of her support from women, those who are above the age of 50 and anyone who is not caucasian. If I was living in the States and was an eligible voter, Hillary Clinton would have my vote for sure, no contest. 

However, after the Iowa caucus, the next stop is New Hampshire, which is where Sanders has more of an advantage and likely to beat Clinton. 

So, fingers crossed, let’s hope Clinton wins in Iowa. 

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Maira Gall