As the flock of Democrat candidates chow down on fair food at the Iowa State Fair this past week, I found it very interesting the pandering that went on. And then I thought with all of the fanfare going on…just how reliable are the first two states at predicting the eventual nominee.
I only went back to 2004, and obviously since that time the incumbent has run twice and there has been an “open” field with no incumbent twice. Here was what I found interesting in Iowa and in New Hampshire.
First of all, the current field in Iowa, according to RealClearPolitics shows that Joe Biden is in the lead with 25.3% on the average. He’s followed by Elizabeth Warren with 16.3%, and Kamala Harris with 14.3%. Bernie Sanders has 12.3%. That hasn’t changed much over the past month or so, so the State Fair hasn’t had much of an impact. Everyone else is in single digits.
Back in 2004, John Kerry won the Iowa Caucus. He became the nominee that year. In 2008, Barack Obama won Iowa. He became the nominee that year. In 2012, Obama again won, being the incumbent…and in 2016, Hillary Clinton won, also becoming the nominee that year. Result? Iowa does a pretty good job at picking Democrats’ who later become the nominee.
So, what about Republicans? Well, obviously this year, Donald Trump is the incumbent, so the numbers don’t matter, but in 2016, Ted Cruz won Iowa (Trump finished second). In 2012, it was Rick Santorum beating out Mitt Romney. In 2008, Mike Huckabee won the state, and in 2004, it was George W. Bush because he was the incumbent. So, while Iowans do a really good job of picking the eventual nominee for Democrats, they pretty much suck at picking the GOP’s standard bearer.
Now, let’s move to New Hampshire.
Currently in New Hampshire, Joe Biden is the front runner with an average of 21.8%. Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont is second with 19.3. Elizabeth Warren is third with 15.8%, and Kamala Harris has 9.0%. So, what’s New Hampshire done in the past?
On the left, they nominated Bernie Sanders in 2004. He ended up losing the nomination to John Kerry. In 2008, they went with Hillary Clinton. She ended up losing the nomination to Barack Obama. Obama was the incumbent in 2012, so it’s not a factor, and in 2016, it was once again, Bernie winning New Hampshire and losing out to Hillary for the nomination. New Hampshire has failed to pick the Democrat nominee in the three open elections on the Democrat side since 2004.
On the Republican side, something interesting happened. In 2004, Bush was the incumbent, so he sailed through. But in 2008, John McCain won New Hampshire, and ended up becoming the nominee…and in 2012, Mitt Romney won New Hampshire, he also became the nominee. And in 2016, Donald Trump won New Hampshire. He ended up the nominee as well. They’re batting 1.000 over the last three presidential runs!
So…if you want to know who the Democrats will run, watch the Iowa Caucus. If you want to know who the Republicans’ nominee will be, watch the New Hampshire Primary. And the funny thing…New Hampshire went for Clinton in 2016…Iowa went for Trump. You would have thought it would have been the other way around.
We know one person that won’t win either…John Hickenlooper. The former Governor of Colorado quit this week in order to “ponder a Senate run”.
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!