US elections: Live-blogging Iowa caucus

10:44 pm - January 3rd 2008

by Sunny Hundal    

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The big day is here, as US elections officially kick off! I can’t contain my excitement that’s how sad I am. Anyway, for the uninitiated, today is the day of the Iowa Caucus. A caucus is slightly different from a standard election but Iowa is still seen as a bell-weather on who the country will elect.

Candidates who come third in this and two upcoming elections (New Hampshire 8th Jan, Nevada & South Carolina 19th Jan) may as well drop out of the race. Both parties are trying to select their nominee for the Presidential election and the process officially finishes on 27th May, though it is very likely to wrap up before that.

The latest polls suggest Barack Obama at the top for the Democrats and Mike Huckabee winning amongst Republicans. Let the games begin…

Update: After nearly everyone else has… I’m calling it in too.

Note: The times are on Pacific Time, local to Los Angeles (-8 hours GMT).

2:40pm: Fox News (boo! hiss!) is saying that Edwards is in a dead-heat with Obama and Clinton. MSNBC is saying that Clinton’s camp is more nervous than Obama’s camp. This is very close for the Democrats, less so for the Republicans (Huckabee first, Romney second, McCain third (most likely)).

2:50pm Fox News invites the representative from Edwards campaign and immediately asks when Edwards will stop boycotting the station. Heh. The rep sticks to the line that “we have serious concerns about media consolidation and the bias that Fox News has” and is non-committal about Edwards appearing on Fox. Brilliant.

3:12pm I may have started this a tad bit early. The way Iowa works, people gather together at their local precinct in the evening and together decide to vote for a person. So we have at least 6 – 7 hours to go *cough*. Damn. Plus I have a cold.

3:15pm Barack Obama has received the endorsements of Democratic nominees Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich.

3:29pm MSNBC has some sort of a countdown to an hour from now. I have no idea what it’s for but maybe some of the early results come in then.

4:50pm So the caucus has started! Any minute now the results from some of the smaller precincts should start coming in… stand by.

5:25pm Wow, American news television has got to be the world’s best at speculation and constantly talking about an issue without anything new being happening. No results have come in yet… bastards. I hope Hilary Clinton comes third. And some pollsters are actually predicting it.

5:45pm Fox News reports that up to 60% of Republicans going in to vote described themselves as evangelical or born-again Christians (!!!). It’s great news for Huckabee of course, who is now a shoo-in for Iowa. Thompson may now come in third.

5:50pm Robert points out below that some of the news channels are doing Entry Polls as well as Exit Polls, helping to add to the speculation. But this matters less for the Iowa Caucus where personal interactions matter a lot more when people get together to decide who is their nominee.

6pm With 37% of Democrat caucuses now reporting in their results, Barack Obama is at around 34% / Edwards 32% and Clinton at 31%. It is very close for the Democrats. CNN has already called Huckabee as winner of the Republican race.

6:15pm The Republican numbers currently are: Huckabee 31% / Romney 23% / Thompson 13% / McCain 12%.

6:16pm Obama pulls slightly ahead with 66% of Democrat precincts reported: Obama 35% / Edwards 31% / Clinton 31%. Whoop whoop!

6:25pm 69% of Democrat precincts reported: Obama 35% / Edwards 31% / Clinton 31%.

6:27pm CNN is predicting Barack Obama will win Iowa! with 79% of Democrat precincts reporting, the stats are now at: Obama 36% / Edwards 31% / Clinton 30%.

6:35pm Republicans are at: Huckabee 34% / Romney 24% / Thompson 14% / McCain 13% with 65% of Republican precincts reporting in.

6:42pm Democrats – with 86% of precincts reporting, Obama 37% / Edwards 30% / Clinton 30%

6:50pm Republicans – Rudy Guliani is asked on CNN how he explains coming 6th (!) in the polls, at a lowly 4%. Even Republican outsider Ron Paul got 10% of the vote. For some reason though, none of the major networks are saying much about Ron Paul’s strong showing. His excuse? “We have a strategy to campaign across states and Mike Huckabee spend a lot of resources in Iowa (he didn’t).”

I think this may herald the decline of Guliani’s campaign.

7pm With 90% of Democrat precincts reporting in, Clinton is in third place. Obama leads with 37%, Edwards and Clinton tie at 30% (Edwards is slightly ahead in actual precincts).

This is the worst possible news for Clinton. An Edwards win, in a state described by one commentator as “only slightly less whiter than the north pole”, would have been good for her since Edwards does not have the money to carry on a long campaign. Obama on the other hand does.

When the race gets to South Carolina, which has a big African-American population, the air of inevitability around Hilary Clinton should start falling apart.

7:15pm 95% of Democrat precincts are called in now, Obama is a dead-cert to win. I think Edwards will come in second. On the Republican side, the order doesn’t seem to budge either – Huckabee should win.

7:40pm It’s official – Obama and Huckabee have won.

It’s worth noting that in a state where registered Democrats and Republicans are almost the same percentage, the Democrats had a turn out more than twice that of Republicans – 218,000 v 108,000. Most independents veered towards a Democrat.

Democrats (96% reporting in): Obama 37.49% / Edwards 29.8% / Clinton 29.3%
/republicans (78% reporting in): Huckabee 33.9% / Romney 25.4% / McCain 13.6% / Thompson 13.4% / Ron Paul 10%

7:45pm Now that he has been relegated to 4th position, Fred Thompson is even more likely to drop out. There was already some talk of him dropping out and expressing support for McCain (a close friend) and now that he’s in fourth position, this is more likely since he doesn’t have the money to sustain a nationwide campaign.

Huckabee does not have the money or resources or money to sustain a nationwide campaign either but he’s done well in Iowa because of the high number of conservative evangelicals living there. I don’t think this will be replicated in other upcoming primaries, but of all Republican constituences – the evangelicals are the most organised.

Originally, it was Thompson who had courted them as the traditional Republican icon (Romney was the wrong religion, Guliani too much of a philanderer and McCain had annoyed the traditional Conservative base too much). But now with Huckabee decisively having assumed that mantle, Thompson has little hope other than to offer support to someone in return for a vice-president ticket or something.

7:50pm Grrrr! Thompson has pulled out ahead of McCain into third place so there is less chance of him throwing in the towel yet.

Democrats: (98% reporting in): Obama 37.51% / Edwards 29.8% / Clinton 29.35%
Republicans: (86% of precincts reporting): Huckabee 34.4% / Romney 25.4% / Thompson 13.43% / McCain 13.15% / Ron Paul 9.74%

8:20pm The Democrat fall-out has already begun. Senator Joe Biden and Chris Dodd have bowed out of the race. Both got between 0 and 1% of votes in Iowa.

8:25pm Obama’s speech was amazing, I thought. MSNBC, which I’m watching right now, is loving him like no one else. They’re not too enthused by Clinton, who’s speech was described as simply a speech which was designed to “push some buttons”, in contrast to Obama who reaches out to a much wider audience.

Under 30 vote: Obama 57%!! (way ahead of the others, don’t remember those figures now)
Women: 35% v Clinton 30%
Independents: Obama 41% v Clinton 17%
There was an 89% jump in the number of Democrat voters – which inevitably favoured Obama and Edwards.
So Obama not only overwhelmingly got the young vote, but he also beat Clinton in the female vote. That is amazing.

9pm Just saw Huckabee interviewed and I have to say – he is damn good. A political commentator on MSNBC summed it up well when he said that while both are for “change”, the difference between Obama and Huckabee is that the former talks in very broad terms while the latter talks in very personal manner. Huckabee makes you want to like him as a person while Obama wants you to like him for what he stands for.

I’m gonna grab some food.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments

I heard that some stations might be doing ENTRY polls as well as exit polls. The media coverage of these elections will be very interesting.

try using this software tonight. is using it to live blog the caucuses…you can be up and running in under two minutes.

Please read this and calm down

” When Will We Know Who Really Won in Iowa?
By Scott Galindez
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Friday 28 December 2007

The answer is sometime in June. O.K., I see that puzzled look on your face. I will try to explain; and, hopefully, when I’m done you won’t be more confused than you are now……………..”

By Deus, just imagine a Obama/Edwards ticket!

I know, that would be my dream ticket too.

Was that Chuck Norris in the background at Huckabee’s speech?

Romney’s concession was floundering. I can see why people preferrded Huck…

Yeah! Chuck Norris and his wife! Not Huckabee’s wife though, bizarrely. Huckabee’s obsessed with Chuck Norris for some reason.

Great minute-by-minute Sunny!

It just shows, Ann Coulter et al, are not as influential in the conservative movement as they profess. The GOP courted the evangelicals, and now they’re paying the price. Blame Karl Rove if the corporatocrisy loses control of the Republican nomination.

If Iowa proves to be a blip for Romney, what about an Obama/Huckabee ticket???

Close the divide. Unite America.

Well done Sunny that was a mammoth effort- I was wondering whether the real victor in all of this was populism- that’s how I see Huckabee at any rate.

11. Andreas Paterson

Gracchi, what exactly do you think is populist about the various candidates?

Huckabee’s economic outlook was populist, even if his fiscal approach didn’t fit the rhetoric.

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