.
What do the Iowa caucuses really mean?
January 3rd, 2012
03:36 PM ET

What do the Iowa caucuses really mean?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

At eight o'clock tonight, the process of electing our next president will be officially under way in Iowa.

This year it's the Republicans who have staged a political demolition derby across the sparsely populated state in the heart of the Corn Belt.

And, every four years a lot of people wonder, why Iowa? How much does it even matter what happens in Iowa? In 2008, Mike Huckabee won in Iowa while John McCain, the eventual nominee, placed fourth. The same thing could happen this year.

Even if Ron Paul, for example, were to win in Iowa, there is almost no chance he will be the Republican nominee.

Howard Kurtz writes in The Daily Beast that "Iowa is in some ways a funhouse mirror, distorting the process as everyone else suspends disbelief and plays along."

Iowa officials insist their state deserves its first-in-the nation billing because its citizens are well-informed and throw tough questions at the candidates. But Iowa is much whiter and more rural than the other 49 states and in almost no way resembles the rest of the country, except maybe North Dakota, or South Dakota. You get the point.

As for today, it's yet to be seen how much Iowa will matter, if at all. If Mitt Romney wins there - and then goes on to win in a landslide in New Hampshire - he could seal the deal pretty quickly.

Nevertheless, it does give an early indication of who has a good organization, who can raise money and who can get an audience to listen to what they have to say. Plus it gives the news media something to do until the New Hampshire primary.

Whatever the outcome of the caucuses, it's probably safe to say Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry might soon want to think about calling it quits.

It's not a question of if those folks drop out, but when.

In the end, Iowa can serve to narrow the field and tell the rest of the country what a relatively few people in the Heartland don't want.

Here’s my question to you: What do the Iowa caucuses really mean?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Posted by
Filed under: 2012 Election • Iowa
soundoff (187 Responses)
  1. Bob C

    Simply put, it means 10+ months more of annoying political advertisements.

    January 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  2. Frances

    It means that we will learn who the most conservative, tea party intolerant, prejudiced, flat earth, anti-woman, anti-gay person they can find. Also who wants to give the most tax breaks to the wealthy. And who most wants to bust Unions, and lower wages and benefits for the middle class working people.

    January 3, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  3. Ken Victoria BC

    The Iowa caucuses represent a total waste of time, effort and money.However, the results will probably show that money will not buy the votes as is the plan of Mitt Romney and his associates.

    January 3, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  4. jemekia toloris

    Not a thing!! It gave us Obama and we see how he has destroyed the democract party!!

    January 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  5. John from Alabama

    Jack: It means alot if you are a producer of attack ads or political proganda. Iowa has a population of 3 million, and less than 5% will participate caucuses, which means it does not mean much for the rest of Iowa. Iowa will make some money on all the media tourist in the towns and villages. Silly, Silly, and so on....

    January 3, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  6. Bob in San Jose, CA

    Iowa showcases how PATHETIC the GOP challenge is for Pres. Obama. If he is so vulnerable, this group of 7 party also-rans are the best they can muster? Iowa proves the truly electable GOP options who have declined to run are truly cowards. Like most of us, they don't really believe they can do much to keep Obama from a second term.

    January 3, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  7. Bob Wicker (Syracuse, IN)

    Jack, the Iowa caucuses only reflect middle american, white, evangelical values. Iowans don't come close to representing the rest of the country in terms of demographics and ideaology. Too much emphasis is put on Iowa, as well as New Hampshire and South Carolina. The race won't matter until Florida votes for the republican nominee.

    January 3, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  8. Ann from Charleston SC

    The Iowa caucuses give a view of who the people of Iowa would like to see run for president. Historically, they don't seem to be much of a predictor of who actually gets the nomination or who wins the presidential election. For me the interesting thing about the Iowa caucus is that the people of Iowa have an up close and personal view of the candidates that many of the rest of us do not get, and the results give us at least Iowa's perception of who would make a good candidate.

    January 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  9. Bernie of Lowell.

    "it is a tale told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Macbeth Quote (Act V, Scene V) slightly paraphrased..

    January 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  10. Mel - Houston

    Who cares they don't represent the status quo of US citizens. The best thing that could happen is that someone calls a caucus and no one comes. The media would go wild. How many millions were spent on this exercise of futility?

    January 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  11. Conor in Chicago

    It means Iowans, news pundits, and people who don't like Romney can pretend for a day that Romney will not be the nomminee.

    January 3, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  12. Dave - Phx

    That a bunch of people still living in the 1950's like beaver cleaver get to make their opinion on electing their party nominee first. Nothing more. Iowa couldn't be less repsentative of the general american population.

    January 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  13. s in pensacola

    To me, Jack, the Iowa caucuses mean 6 to 8 months of nes breaking, edge-of-your seat, fingernail-biting electoral insignificance. Although for the GOP boys and girls, it's apparently a combination caucus, book tour and Fox news anchor audition.

    January 3, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  14. Ed from Texas

    It means the circus is over. It's time to take down the tent, load up the clown car and drive it to New Hampshire.

    January 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  15. Annie, Atlanta

    Quite a bit to Iowans, apparently, and absolutely nothing to the rest of us. But I'll give them this, it certainly has to be good for their economy. So as archaic as it may seem to the rest of us, keep it up, guys. Maybe we can start the campaigning three years out, to help even more. Ok, now I'm being sarcastic.

    January 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  16. Jim, Cranford, NJ.

    It means the winner has the best car pool organization in Iowa and the poor people of New Hampshire will have to hear from a few more candidates with no shot of becoming President. There has to be a better way.

    January 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  17. Loren

    Jack squat. They are at best a beauty contest, and simply because it plays in Iowa doesn't mean it will play in the rest of the country.

    January 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  18. Brad, Portland, OR

    Our current primary system which allows small non-representative states like Iowa and New Hampshire outsized influence makes no sense.

    We should have a series of national primaries over the next year to winnow the field. Maybe have a primary in January where the top 5 candidates go through to the next round, one in March where the top three go through, and one in August where a final candidate is selected for the general election in November.

    That way the whole country gets to help decide who the President will be, and not just Iowa and New Hampshire.

    January 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  19. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    To me they do not mean that much and if you were to listen to the candidates that come in last they will say the same thing. But what Iowa caucuses really mean is who will receive the money to keep going. If you want to buy influence like so many millionaire and corporations do, you do not bet on a loser. If you are a millionaire many times over like Romney losing in Iowa doesn't hurt as much.

    January 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  20. Kenneth in California

    It means the circus is in town, so bring in the clowns.

    January 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  21. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    in the end they mean absolutely NOTHING, Jack. about 5% of Iowans participate in the Republican caucus and Iowa has 4% of the total population of the United States. I really don't think that the vast majority of Americans care what that small number of people, the majority of which have some really extream beliefs, care about.

    it's ALL just a "show" for Iowa to make money.

    January 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  22. Rex in Portland, OR

    The results of the Iowa caucuses simply reflects the political direction chosen by Iowans. In this particular case, since you are referring to the republican caucuses, the desires of Iowa republicans. History has shown that Iowa republicans are not particularly in tune with either republicans nor with the general populace nationally. Therefore the caucus results are meaningless, on a national scale.

    January 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  23. Karl in Flint

    In a word, nothing. It's like getting a fever in November and wondering why it didn't show up when you took your temperature last January. And this year it is the circus tent for the entire graduating class of clown school.

    January 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  24. Jk from Minnesota

    Not much to me Jack.

    January 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  25. Terry Wells -Hoosier Hillbilly-Greensburg,IN

    Iowa caucuses are just a "BIG" political "&" media hype job! They have no meaning or significance other than to get candidates charged up and give 'press' for them ( another media extravaganza ) and create some extra revenue for the state.

    January 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  26. Doug Ericson

    I guess it means that if you don't finish in the top 5, or 6, you are out. Can't think of anything else. Doug. Pepperell, MA.

    January 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  27. James, Alexandria VA

    Iowa caucuses mean nothing. Only the end result which will be the candidate that is going to lose in 2012 to President Obama,

    January 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  28. MARK, OKLAHOMA CITY

    The Iowa caucuses are a Loud, Non-Stop 'Look-at-me, Look-at-me' circus that we have had to listen to for a solid month and it all means exactly ZERO, ZILCH, DIDDLY-SQUAT-NOTHING in the end. How intelligent candidates and media could give so much attention to this road-side fruit stand of political empty votes is beyond me.

    January 3, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  29. CRAIG R. MCNEES

    tampa, fl most will be held in some bar and picks will be done with a dartboard after the 8th round.

    January 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  30. Ed from California

    Nothing....seven electoral votes in the general election. I just wish that the President or the Senate would cut all Federal subsidies to all these welfare states. including Iowa!!! You're not independent if you get handouts from the rest of us. Iowa thinks it's a player........its not!!

    January 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  31. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    Very little. Except to the media.

    January 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  32. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Jack, all votes matter. It's just to sad that most people who could vote don't. We as a country are very divided and Iowa is an example of just how much we're going down different paths. The Evangelicals want one thing, the social conservitives want something else and then there are at least 10 other groups that want their way. No one can satisfy all of the people and until we hit a true bottom we won't come together.

    January 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  33. Pete from Georgia

    They are an example of how an American politician can, over a 24 month period, actually spend over $200 per vote on "an opinion"..................not even an election.

    Go figure.

    January 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  34. Jim, Denver CO

    Jack,
    It means the nutjobs are out in force, especially this year with the group of loons running on the Republican ticket. John Huntsman is the only sane one of the group and he doesn't have a snowballs chance in hell to get any significant level of votes.

    January 3, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  35. Noel Sivertson New Mexico

    Not much. I's just another form of entertainmentand gives them something to do on cold winter nights. The results are usually meaningless since Iowa Republicans are no way a cross section of the national Republican consitituency.

    January 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  36. Dan5404

    Jack, they will tell us what candidates a large percentage of a small minority of voters prefer. Because they are very right wing and evangelical, it has little to do with the November election.

    January 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  37. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    On the Democratic side, they mean plenty, because the caucus choses who goes as a delegate to the county caucus, which determines who is a delegate to the state convention. The GOP is an anonymous straw poll that is not binding on anyone, so it means little. If the non-Romney candidates all stay in until S. Carolina and deprive Santorum of a win there, it means nothing at all. On the other hand, if only Romney and Santorum actively compete in S. Carolina, Iowa could upset the RNC's apple cart, which had been set for a Romney nomination.

    January 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  38. Jenna Roseville CA

    What do the Iowa caucuses really mean?

    A whole lot of nothing in my opinion. Seriously.

    With the caucus amounting to 60% of a Evangelical Christian base – who do NOT speak for the majority of Americans – they have made themselve irrelivant.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    January 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  39. Mack from Michigan

    I think this year, Iowa's caucuses mean that people still cannot resist gawking at a train wreck!

    January 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  40. Larry -Denver

    What they really mean is time filler for all the news networks. I cannot believe you all dedicate so much time to so little. Why not wait until it means something. You over cover it all, to death. Enough

    January 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  41. René

    This caucus will give momentum to one candidates' campaign but will certainly not mean this candidat will winn the Republican candidacy. At most it will mean the end of one or more candidates when suffering a very detrimental loss. It´s still 10 months ´till the actual presidential election and in politics that´s almost an eternity.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  42. Paulette from Dallas,PA

    To me they mean nothing. As you said Jack, Iowa does not relflect what the rest of the nation wants.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  43. Sylvia from San Diego

    Jack,

    You should know because the media are making more of Iowa than the rest of the country....

    January 3, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  44. Kim , Dodge City, Kansas

    Nothing at all, and that is a monumental understatement.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  45. Curtis in Philadelphia

    Jack, the Caucus system is very different from a primary voting system and therefore more akin to reading tea leaves: you will see what you want to see, even when there's really nothing to see, you'll see.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  46. Paul - North Carolina

    What they mean, Jack, is that they must not get Green Acres re-runs on cable in Iowa. Otherwise, why would anyone go out on a cold winter's night to someone else's house, or a diner or wherever, drink non-alcoholic beverages and discuss the relative merits of a seriously flawed bunch of political hacks. Personally, I'd rather have my spleen removed without anesthesia. But then, I'm not a "values" voter.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  47. pkfops

    That's easy.

    It means a small hick state gets national press coverage for a few days.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  48. Shelley J

    IOWA caucus means at steady stream of revenue from reporters, tourists and politicians for the state; means boosting already inflated egos of politicians in IOWA, but nothing else. This state does not represent the rest of America and yet reporters continue to fuel this madness.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  49. Jan Burch

    It doesn't mean anything – possibly a winnowing out process, but that is it. What a waste of a lot of money by the people running and the pacs stupid enough to pay the big money for the ads, Iowa probably welcomes the extra money the caucuses bring in but that is all.

    Totally idiotic waste of time!

    January 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  50. Gary from Atlanta

    Maybe if you would not waste so much time covering it the folks looking for free air time might spend less effort trying to win a meaningless state. Maybe if we opened with Florida or California it might mean something.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  51. Hamilton

    It means nothing. The candidate who raises the most money wins the election 94% of the time, so this is really more of a charade than anything.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  52. calaurore9

    The Iowa Caucuses mean news organizations spending money to parade their 'reporters' around coffee shops and pizza parlors. There were legions of news types swarming a poor defenseless Iowan who made the mistake of leaving his house today. Other than that, they mean the start of a long slog with Zzzomney til June. Yawwwn.

    Carol in Northampton, Ma

    January 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  53. Teaparty01

    Barry Obama won't have to answer any questions for the next 10 months

    January 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  54. Lisa

    Nothing at all!!! I've been waiting for someone to give me a good answer... But I always find this to be funny every election.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  55. Alex

    Come on Jack Cafferty! If Ron Paul wins it means nothing???? What a joke. If Ron Paul wins his support is going to be booming. The Ron Paul movement is huge please don't disrespect your viewers. Thanks!

    January 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  56. Pete from Florida

    I LOVE the Iowa caucus process – it puts the ignorance, gullibility and raging lunacy of the Republican party and its uber-conservative supporters on national display. The show in Iowa and similar states is what may well give Obama and the Dems an edge in November.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  57. rr

    Nothing. Since no delegates are awarded it means nothing. It's time to re think the primary system. When I vote I want the best person not the person the party voted for. We need open elections winner takes all.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  58. Patrick Reynolds

    North Attleboro, MA

    It means that ethanol subsides will never go away

    January 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  59. Dave, Orlando, FL

    Probably nothing. Iowans hardly represent a cross section of the country. Their political orientation is too ideological and while many of them may have genuine and strong family values, they have no idea of what real life in the big city is – literally.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  60. Jack, Laconia NH

    "Iowa picks corn; NH picks presidents!" So...Iowa is insignificant in that NH votes in an offical primary

    January 3, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  61. Paul C, Pennsylvania

    It's ridiculous that we have Iowa and New Hampshire pushing their dates up and insisting on being the first states to vote. If we wanted a process that assured that the candidate with the best support won without any interference of one state in another's business we'd have all fifty at once. By having those two start it off we allow them to have greater power by swaying some voters into voting for the 'winner' rather than who they really want to see nominated. Let's have one big national primary and get it over with early so that the one candidate can campaign nationally and with the support of all states equally.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  62. fla5183

    Why does Iowa really matter? It doesn't. Someone has to be first. Iowa is as good as any. The last time I checked the constitution it defined when the general election would be, but the states are left up to themselves to define the primary election. That should probably read, "...muddle the election process..."

    January 3, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  63. Nick San Diego

    Just a waste of time and $$$. The present election process is mired in yesteryear.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  64. SHANE

    the only thing that the iowa caucuses does is give the media such as cnn some kind of work to do, other than that its just a waste of time .

    January 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  65. Larry in Houston

    What do the Iowa caucuses really mean?

    Jack – ask Mike Huckabee what it means. He won Iowa in 2008. But do you remember who's Name was on the Ticket, in the General Election, in November ?

    (hint : His initials starts with 'J' and last name initial starts with an 'M' )

    Larry in Houston

    January 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  66. Adeyemi oshunrinade

    The caucuses is just a gathering of neighbors who want to have a say on who becomes President other than that, it means nothing since winning Iowa does not guarantee the nomination or the Presidency it is just a recommendation process that generate economic boom for Iowa during the campaigns.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  67. Gigi Oregon

    It shows me who the real nuts of the republican tree are and how far they can fall from what "we the people" need. What the United States needs and what the Republicans give us have nothing in common with what "We the people" dream of. Freedom, education, jobs, homes, freedom to worship, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  68. Russ, LR, AR

    This reminds me of a television show pilot, which might be interesting and tempt the viewer to tune in for the next episode. But just like most shows, the season rarely lives up to the hype. I am also afraid that the GOP is like the worst commercials on the air, because you sit sit back and say to yourself 'this is the best they can come up with?'.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  69. southernwonder

    iowa means little to the nation as far elections go, but keeps foxnews very busy.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  70. Minnetonka Mike

    The Iowa caucuses are a beauty contest for swine....only Iowans will care which pig managed to apply the most lipstick.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  71. Zach

    It means a large increase of support for the candidates who come out on top, as it always has. It's rather disingenuous of the media to downplay the caucuses as much as it's doing, after playing up in 2008 how vitally important they were then. Let's be honest here, there were no opinion pieces like this in 2008. Everyone acknowledged the caucuses for what they are: very important. Now that Iowa's on the verge of choosing a candidate who is often called unelectable (even though he does better against Obama than any other Republican candidate in hypothetical matchups) and is incorruptible by the corporate influences that own the media, we're suddenly being drowned in propoganda about how the Iowa Caucuses don't mean anything. So in conclusion, the Caucuses mean a lot and always have, and this insistence upon their irrelevance by the media and GOP establishment is an entirely new phenomenon.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  72. SilverHair

    A total waste of tv bandwidth.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  73. Hannah

    These caucuses, like most of the election process is obsolete and needs to be gotten rid of. That Iowa could in any way be representative of the rest of the country is laughable. Although on second thought, it is pretty representative of the Republican party; mostly white, super religious, anti labor, hawkish, and the list goes on.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  74. Bill of New Mexico

    This time I do not think Iowa will mean much,

    but too often a candidate pulls out ahead

    and there is no stopping them.

    I do not think I want to vote for any of them, now.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  75. Karl in Flint

    By tomorrow morning, this voo doo election will have the significance of yesterdays newspaper. In other words, old news to the real world outside of Iowa and the media.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  76. Joe

    They don't mean anything. The tiny group of voters who come out are in large part older white right wing bigots who do not represent the average American. If the media stopped paying so much breathless attention to this silly circus it would go away.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  77. Linda in Arizona

    They mean weeks of boring television. Who cares what Iowa republicans think? Do they think at ALL? Personally, I think they're bad for ratings, and that's really all you should be concerning yourselves with.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  78. Jason

    Jack,

    Since 1979, 3 GOP candidates have lost the Iowa caucus and went on the win the Presidency. Winning this caucus is not a boon, but rather a detriment.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  79. Burbank from CA

    It doesn't really mean all that much, just gets a lot of press because it's first.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  80. Mike From MI

    – Waste of time
    – Waste of money
    – Media circus

    Who cares what happens in Iowa?

    January 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  81. Gerald

    Hopefully it means the end of a failed administration Jack.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  82. Andrew

    Don't blame the Iowans for the fact that it's turned into the Iowa Circuses. Too much media hype.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  83. Karen, Idaho

    It means absolutely nothing to most of the country, but to Iowa–it is a really big deal to be first. You have to give the people in Iowa credit for their interest in politics. They probably know more about the process than most of the rest of America and they are able to get their people excited and involved in the political process. Personally, I could not spend hours listening to these candidates spew their political hogwash. Maybe everyone wears earplugs to the caucus meetings..

    January 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  84. Patrick

    let's make sure that we understand that we're talking about iowa REPUBLICANS here, not iowans in general. there is a vast difference. and not only republicans in general, but republicans who are motivated to come out on a cold evening and caucus, which is a particularly right-leaning subset of an already rightwing group.

    iowa, on the whole, is fairly progressive and its electorate, on the whole, is generally well-informed. tonight's caucus is nothing more than a media circus.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  85. Bob in San Antonio

    Those who find tonight's Iowa caucus meaningless because Iowa demographics are not representativeof U.S. demographics seem to forget that it is a Republican caucus. How representative of voting Republicans are Iowans?

    January 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  86. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    It means it is the dead of winter and the meaningless buffoons running in the Iowa caucus are more entertaining than shoveling the driveway, but just barely.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  87. Jayson

    It is about time that a schedule was created that rotated the order of the primaries and which states go in what order. There is no reason why states should be locked into a certain order and be penalized for daring to go out of order.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  88. Ravi Sharma

    Iowa caucuses and rest of the GOP primaries means President Obama is getting closer and closer to winning his second term in the WH. GOP candidates critics for each other is just helping Obama's second term easier day by day.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  89. Robert from Houston

    It means nothing more than the beginning of a political marathon that will dominate the 24-hr news cycle from now 'til November. Polito-philes are gearing up for the coverage of a primary season that seems all but certain to pit Governor Romney versus President Obama.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  90. Craig from Pa.

    They don't mean diddley squat!.......waste of time and money...but nobody identifies it as such!

    January 3, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  91. AB

    The Iowa caucus means just as much as it would mean in any other little state–very little, relative to other states and even larger ones. I don't think that Iowans nor residents of New Hampshire are any more informed politically than the rest of the nation. These two states do not reflect the rest of the nation and are merely a small subset of it. Any candidate can skip Iowa or even New Hampshire and still win a major party nomination. Jimmy Carter did and he won the nomination and the presidency. John McCain did and won the nomination, but not the presidency. Iowa and New Hampshire do not have final say as to who becomes POTUS. The American people nationally and collectively, have the final say.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  92. mark in las vegas

    They mean nothing. The media has driven this event in order to make money and create a news event of a non event.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  93. marybeth, massachusetts

    All it means to me is that the Iowa caucuses give the media their feeding frenzy, because apparently there is absolutely no other news, nothing else of importance going on in the country or in the world besides what 5% of a very lily-white, older, and extremely evangelical Christian few have to say. Somehow the media believes that what happens in Iowa is of vast importance, and will influence the outcome of politics. The media has conveniently ignored that Iowa doesn't represent the rest of the midwest, let alone the rest of the country demographically, and that their measly 7 electoral votes can't compete with the number of electoral votes up for grabs in Florida, California, New York, Ohio.

    What I don't understand is how the media can claim that if Romney wins Iowa, he's sewn up the nomination. Iowa is one small state, and only a caucus at that. So what if Romney wins Iowa. Last time Huckabee won Iowa, and the nomination went to McCain. The media should stop telling the public that the nomination is Romney's, that he has it in the bag, this early. The last of the primaries are in June, and a whole lot can happen between now and June.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  94. Pacific View, Santa Monica

    A random number generator would be just as insightful as the caucus results will be.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  95. becky - Las Vegas

    Except for thinning the herd a little, Jack, the caucuses mean absolutely nothing.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  96. lilmagothy

    Only that the clown car will be a little lighter as it travels the countryside. What a bunch of conservative, evangelical, right-wing tea partiers want – and it's apparent that they don't even know what they want – has little or no bearing on what a more moderate remainder of the country wants.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  97. Patrick F

    Jack, If Iowan's are so well informed and ask tough questions, Why hasn't anyone asked how a Republican candidate plans to convince a largely disfunctional Congress to work together. After all, that is what the leader of this country needs to do.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  98. cal usa

    It will tell us who a small (25%) slice of the members of the minority party in Iowa want to send to contest the presidency against the guy who carried the state in 2008 and received more votes than any candidate in history. In other words, a corn-kamikaze selection process.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  99. Marc

    It means absolutely ZIP.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  100. Robert Emery

    Someone has wasted a lot of money

    January 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  101. Marc

    So if Ron Paul wins Iowa and New Hampshire, it means he still has no shot at the nomination...yet, if Mitt Romney does the same, he would have all but wrapped up the nomination? How does that make any sense? Coming from a former military officer, it would be nice if the chickenhawks who live in this country listened to Ron Paul when it comes to foreign policy, because those of us who support him actually have some real world experience when it comes to waging war, and we're here to tell you that Congressman Paul is 100% correct. [Sunapee, New Hampshire]

    January 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  102. justaman

    All they really mean is that as of today, we are still a free country. We're free to over-analize; free to lie about someone else in trying to lift ourself; we're free to vote; free to sensationalize the mundane; free to ask "what do the Iowa cauceses really mean?". They really just mean we're still free.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  103. Penny from Minnesota

    Iowa is a complete waste of time, energy and money. Come to Minnesota where you have more diversity and maybe, just maybe, you'll get a bit more of a true picture of what America is thinking.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  104. Ron from KY

    The Iowa caucuses have no importance. It only means that the candidates are starting to get their pockets lined by the special interest groups, so if elected, they can continue the trend in Washington – Partisan Politics! The two party system in this country is flawed and until we have a third party, Washington will continue business as usual.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  105. Justin from Ames

    As an Iowan, it bothers me that many other Americans think that the media attention Iowa has been getting is unjustified. Why is Iowa's caucus first in the nation? Even I don't know, but we are still Americans, and we have the right as citizens to vote. Does Iowa possess strong representation in this country? Maybe not, but we are still part of this country, and we care about America. If you are sore that your state isn't first, don't worry, you will all get your chance to vote.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  106. BIll in VA

    What do Iowa caucuses mean? Media doesn't have much to do in winter.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  107. Evan, Chicago area

    This Iowa caucas is round one of the winnowing out process of the "serious" GOP contenders. Backman, Perry and Cain have already flamed out, while others were and remain non-starters. Now we are waiting to see if Newt, Mitt, and Ron can get any traction. It ultimately doesn't matter though in my opinion, as the GOP has so severely managed to shoot itselt in the foot so many times as the party of "no" and the protector of the 1% that, at least among the people I know, they'd have a difficult time electing one of their ilk as dog catcher in an unopposed election.

    January 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  108. Susan from Idaho

    It means the dumb of the dumbest have been polled and after that not much.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  109. Jyothi, St.Louis,MO

    It is just the beginning for republicans to start thinking about 2016.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  110. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    What do Iowa caucuses mean? It's just a forum where the Republicans lie through their teeth, and the Democrats spout promises the Republicans won't let them keep. Same goes for New Hampshire, Florida, and South Carolina

    January 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  111. Aztec Phil

    The Iowa caucuses mean little in terms of direct effect, other than maybe ridding us of a few annoying underdogs in the race by proving how little support they actually have and how hopeless their cases actually are. But because the Iowa caucuses draw so much media attention, they will probably have a heavier indirect effect, by persuading some observers in other states how to vote or to whom they should throw their support. Bottomline: there are still the popular vote in 49 other states, a sitting president's campaign machine, and the electoral college to consider. The Iowa caucuses don't mean a h*** of a lot.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  112. Dan Tews

    What is sad is reading many of the posts on your website where the person writing the post displays such disrespect for the people and culture of Iowa. True, Iowa is a small state and represents a very small part of America. But it is part of America. Why do so many people outside of Iowa feel they are so much more important, more knowledgeable and more "in tune" with the rest of America. WE ARE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. We all have a say in this country and have the right to express our "say". I do not judge New York by a few weird people I have met from New York. Please do not judge Iowa people because they do not agree with your opinion.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  113. FormerNYer

    I personally have nothing against Iowa or the good people of Iowa, although I don't think they're a good sampling of true America. What I take exception to is the media feeding frenzy and all the polls that come out every two seconds. I can't stand most of the candidates in the caucus but the relentless media attention is shameful.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  114. Shane from Harvest, AL

    Jack: Were Romney gets to be king for a day, after that, who knows.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  115. Bill F Niantic, CT

    I think it only matters if Romney wins. That will cement him as the front runner. If anyone else wins, it just makes Republicans question if Romney is the right horse and puts them in a little disarray. I hope that happens. Who wants a boring primary season when we could have an amazing race like the Democrats in 2008 to watch every night on CNN.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  116. Nancy, Tennessee

    It means that even in our process to elect a President that we have some quirky customs that still exist. The rest of the nation should not listen to what these bored houseburnt farmers have to say in the dead of winter. It is a distraction for them to be first and their valules, beliefs and needs are not what all the people of this nation need.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  117. Mark in Bell Buckle, Tennessee

    Absolutley nothing. Iowa and a few other states fight amongst themselves to be first, and for what cause? It is almost like they want a quick plug on every news show in America. Being the first in a primary or caucus isn't going to help tourism even if the primary is more like a circus.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  118. Pete/Ark

    They mean that Iowa has found a way to hype nothingness into a multi-million dollar windfall every four years. Now, how do we apply this to the rest of the economy Jack ?

    January 3, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  119. Dave, Cedar Rapids

    Of the top seven republican candidates,100% are white, 87% are male and 100% are Christian. And the pundits bemoan the fact that Iowa does not represent mainstream America. Please, can someone tell me what an average mainstream American is?

    January 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  120. Nathan from Louisville, KY

    Jack,

    Iowa begins the "official" start of the comedy tour known as the 'Road to the Republican Nomination." Like most people, I suggest you get some popcorn and sit back for a few laughs.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  121. Russ, LR, AR

    This whole ordeal should teach the NFL and NBA to never have future lockouts and force people to talk and think about politics.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  122. steven gunn

    I think the fact that Iowa and New Hampshire are the ground that the candidates for President of the USA lay down their political ideas is what makes those caucuses important. Those states have little electoral votes and are not swing states. But again, people (American voters) make up their minds on what happens there.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  123. Yarv from Danbury,CT

    In a word Jack.... Nothing...

    January 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  124. Ian in MN

    A lot. If Romney wins he essentially has the nomination in his pocket right now. Baring something crazy happening in New Hampshire he should win there, and at that point it's borderline unthinkable that anybody could catch him. A Ron Paul win could instantly make him an incredibly dangerous candidate. Just like Obama 4 years ago nobody thinks Paul can actually win the nomination, a victory in Iowa gives him a huge boost in visibility and shows that he's got a real shot which can help him down the back stretch.

    If Santorum or someone else wins it could mean we're in for a long drawn out primary fight that might not be decided until late spring.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  125. Jordan

    Why is Governor Rick Perry being combined with Michelle Bachmann, he is far more accomplished candidate that can raise more money than she can. i WOULDN'T count him out.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  126. Southern Lady

    Iowa is in no way representative of the population in large. All I have seen or heard from the prospective candidates is far-right evangelical, religious, born-again christian thinking that, to me, is a total turn off. I cast my vote for the most intelligent, sensible and qualified person able to run the country. Obama in 2012.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  127. Carl

    It's very simple Jack, The Iowa caucuses mean whatever the media tells us they mean.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  128. Chanler

    Iowa is important. Why downplay the democratic process? All this talk of a Ron Paul win discrediting Iowa is ridiculous. The media needs to start reporting the news and stop telling us what to think.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  129. Drew from PA

    Jack, they mean everything!! A true start line for the 10 month drag race in Presidential Election Years. But why Iowa? Should we start in Pennsylvania where the spilt between the right, left and independents is almost 33.3% per? PA has a bi-camel legislature modeled after our fore fathers intention in the constitution, the best ratio of rural to urban life in this country, and great cheese steaks... Bring the first primary to PA and we'll show yah.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  130. Jon from Tempe, Az

    One does not have to win Iowa to become president but one must have a good showing in Iowa. Generally speaking, if you do not place it the top three in Iowa (McCain is the only exception to the rule) your campaign is done because all of your fundraising abilities will be gone. It is a terrible system that we have with one state having so much clout in the process (and a state that is very unrepresentative of the nation) having so much power. We need serious election reform and this post is coming from someone who was born and raised in Iowa.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  131. Bill K

    What the Iowa caucases really means is that the unpopular Texas Congressman Ron Paul has been ahead of all of the other candidates and will most likely win in Iowa after the mainstream media and his own republican party said he wouldn't . therefore to counter act their own mistake , they will have to say that the Iowa caucus isn't really a factor in the presidential race . If or when Dr Paul wins in New Hampshire , South Carolina and Florida in the next few months , I guess those caucuses really won't matter either .

    January 3, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  132. Sean

    The Iowa caucus means little to nothing. Iowa is much like a foreign country to people not in or from Iowa. It won't matter what the outcome Is because Buddy Roemer a.k.a. The most sensible of all republicans running, isn't even close to being on the radar.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  133. Frederick Brown

    Iowa caucuses mean nothing, for that mater the whole election process for 99% of the population means nothing. It's the equivalent of the Roman circuses. Yes that's what we should call them, "The Iowa Circuses", lord knows they are already stocked with clowns.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  134. Weston Yates -New York

    It means we get to see who's the most popular in the people's eyes and who is gonna be stronger next round. It shows the people who's more popular in Iowa and maybe will influence other people in other states. Overall.....its basically a promotional tool for the strongest candidates.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  135. Doug

    Jack, It seems to mean more if any other candidate wins other then Ron Paul. I'm getting damn sick and tired of everyone in the media saying he can't win. He is the only chance this country has to get our bill of rights back, restore the Constitution and change the war and spending machine in Washington. If he does not win, we are all in trouble.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  136. Michele from Boston MA

    Jack,
    The process for electing our next President did not begin with the Iowa caucus. It began when the candidates officially submitted their election papers and announced their candidacy. If I am correct, it began when our current President Obama decided to run for his 2ND term. The Iowa Republican Caucus is analogous to the period of the "barracks emperors" who attempted to rule the crumbling Roman Empire!

    January 3, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  137. deb k

    It's pretty comical to think that a state of 3 million people could determine the outcome of an election, considering that many are democrat. You'd think that those Republican farmers would want an administration that will "really" look out for their welfare and ability to make money for their families. Mitt Romney isn't looking out for the lower income people. He's trying to figure out which state he can buy property and call his home state.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  138. John Brown

    The Iowa Caucas means nothing to me.I don't care who a bunch of Republicans in a rural state think should be our next president.We already have one.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  139. funghiwoman

    The Iowa Caucuses leave me cold. They are really much ado about nothing except, of course, for Iowans. It seems that none of the Republicans except Ron Paul says HOW they will fix anything. Running on a platform to beat Obama says nothing about HOW things are going to get fixed. AND REMEMBER, it is Congress that passes or doesn't pass a bill and it is CONGRESS who has truly made a mess of things. I think it would be better if the media spent less time covering Iowa, less the people of this country think it isn't worth their while to vote because what happens in Iowa dictates what the rest of the country will do.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  140. Tyler

    I remember back in 2008, and there was very little debate on the actual impact of the Iowa caucus process. Now that Ron Paul is a major contender in the race, the media is at a fever pitch to discredit the Iowa caucuses thus making any possible victory by the representative as fruitless. I don't think the problem is with the Iowa caucus, I think its with the media and large corporations whom do not wish to see the status quo change, whom do not want a REAL candidate like Ron Paul to succeed.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  141. jim

    The Iowa Caucuses mean big bucks for Iowa. That is why they have vowed always to be first. Radio, tv, hotels, restaurants, diners, etc. mean millions of dollars pouring into to Iowa every four years. The outcome is irrelevant; it is the income that is important.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  142. twgloege

    Nada. Zip. Zero. Nothing.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  143. Brad Bolyard

    All the hoopla, all the political spending, all the front runners,ALL THE NEWS, all of our time:

    The Iowa state primary will be decided, in total, by 4% of the population (see bing search:2008 iowa caucus)
    Yep

    The entire process will be decided by all the voters that vote in the primary:........4% of the states population

    In 2008, there was a total of 120,000 votes cast. There is a total population of 3 million people.

    And.. those 4% will elect delegates, who will go to the county caucus

    And those county delegates will elect different delegates, who will go to the state caucus

    And those delegates will go to a state caucus to elect delegates

    So....04 % of the entire US population is weeding out candidates and issues.

    Well at least they were first

    January 3, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  144. Political Awareness in Iowa

    You may may complain about our caucus and our demographics compared to the rest of the country but we are politically aware and care what happens to our country.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  145. mike sey, Ottawa

    It means something for the media to do and about two weeks of turning to the BBC to see is anything important is happening anywhere other than Iowa.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  146. Gary

    They are simply one step in many to elect a president. To believe anything else is folly. Every state plays it part.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  147. Troy Ford

    Iowa does matter. Ask Howard Dean.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  148. Jeff In Minnesota

    I have never been sure what the Iowa Caucuses meant any more than the Ames Straw Poll. They seem to be just a whole lot of nothing other than a beauty pageant or who is better at getting out the vote. As you say, Iowa does not represent anywhere near the rest of the country, so why it matters so much is beyond me. However, it does boost the economy of Iowa every four years as the media descends on Iowa for the purpose of over inflating its importance in the Presidential election process.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  149. Dave, Cedar Rapids

    I would like to point out, Jack, even though John McCain finished forth in Iowa, and was eventually selected as the nominee by 'real' America, he lost, big.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  150. Rex Harrington

    Jack...the only purpose of the Iowa caucuses is to begin the process of pulling weeds and to see which weed is left standing!

    January 3, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  151. John Martin

    Iowa is just another means for the RNC and DNC to manipulate the vote. Why do the born again Christians in Iowa get to narrow down the field? Even the way these two parties schedule elections violates Constitutional equality. Political parties run by ideologues are not part of our Constitution. It is time to revolt, remove these two entirely unconstitutional parties from power, and return to our ONE nonpartisan founding concept: The right to determine our own destinies. This should be the basis for all laws. All it requires is that we stop voting like we are betting on a self-centered horse race and start voting for personal freedom.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  152. Sarah

    As a republican for over 50 years, I do not look at Iowa, NH, NC as any indication of who should run. Primarys in all states starting early in the year can winnow down the field and get to a real candidate who may be able to win! Let's abolish the caucuses and go to national primaries.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  153. Jessica

    The Iowa caucuses will once again give a skewed view of where most Americans stand politically. Just imagine how differently the Republican hopefuls would act if the First in the Nation primaries were held in my home state of Oregon. No state should hold so much power when it comes to picking the future leader of us all.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  154. David

    It means whatever you, the media, wants it to mean. When Bachman, Perry, and Cain lead in Iowa they are touted as "National Frontrunner". Paul is now in the lead and somehow Iowa doesn't matter? Give me a break. Sure, McCain lost in 2008 but Obama and W. Bush won Iowa and went on to win the Presidency.

    -David
    Baton Rouge, LA

    January 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  155. Michele from Boston MA

    Jack,
    The process for electing our next President did not begin with the Iowa caucus. It began when the candidates officially submitted their election papers and announced their candidacy. If I am correct, it began when our current President Obama decided to run for his 2ND term. The Iowa Republican Caucus is analogous to the period of the "barracks emperors" who attempted to rule the crumbling Roman Empire!

    January 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  156. Chanler Croteau, FL.

    Iowa is important. Just like all the other states are. Why downplay the democratic process? Their voice needs to be heard just as much as any one else.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  157. Sandstone.

    ""Well one thing for sjure, I'll bet you a stinker, there will be nobody locked out, like they were with Obama's election>"

    January 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  158. Gary from Miami

    It gives a small state full of farm folks a chance to "occupy" every minute of every day on every media outlet. While they enjoy the limelight the rest of us are so bored that Sham Wow commercials seem entertaining. You should run a disclaimer stating "Keep all sharp objects away from the viewing area during caucus coverage". Should be carcass.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  159. Mark

    The Iowa caucuses show that no matter how much support that Ron Paul receives, the media keeps saying that he cant win the GOP nomination or the general election. Ron Paul receives more support from independents and democrats than any other republican candidate. Without support from registered independents and democrats a republican doesn't have a chance in the general election and the United States needs a president will actually create change, unlike the lack of change produced by the Obama administration.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  160. Bob

    How about we talk about what the candidates believe and whether or not it will actually do any good. The media too often focuses on whether or not the politicians so called solutions will be politically successful. The media needs to focus on whether or not the politicians so called solutions are in fact solutions to the problems Americans face today. Talking about what Iowa means doesn’t get us anywhere. Talking about possible solutions to the problems we face does move us along.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  161. Mark

    It proves there are many proud Americans taking time to ask and listen to the candidates. We Iowans take our voting right seriously and vote considering the facts. Sorry we might always not pick the same person you wish we should.
    Mark, Spencer Iowa

    January 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  162. Linda Davis

    This Iowan think the Iowa caucuses are an exercise in democracy. That said, take it somewhere else. I don't own a restaurant, motel or a media outlet and so, I have nothing to lose. Nothing other than endless political phone calls (6-10) a day, and endless bashing of Iowa.

    It is a good time for the candidates to hone their message and the media to pretend they hate flocking to Iowa to send out the messaage.

    In other words, take this job (first vote in U.S. for candidates), and shove it.

    Thank you, Linda Davis

    January 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  163. Robert from Los Angeles, CA

    The Iowa Caucuses mean American Citizens from that state will give us a glance on the type of candidate that could win the state in a presidential election, it also will give us an idea of who is electable and who appeals to the majority of citizens. If Ron Paul wins it will prove that the main stream media is completely wrong on who is electable and it will show that even though the media talks bad about him he still can when an election in a state.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  164. Terry

    The real and only election is in November. By then all of the Republican candidates will have kissed and made up. It's not fair that the Republicans have to go through this and show their ignorance. It should be a law that the incumbent President must have someone run against him so they can act like clowns also. Oh, but Obama doesn't need any help for that!

    January 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  165. Matt

    Today, Iowa represents the socially conservative Americans in the Republican party, and Iowa is only significant if that voting block can coalesce behind one candidate. Otherwise, the moderates will control the outcome due to a splintered right-wing faction and Iowa will miss its chance to have a more conservative impact on the eventual nominee.

    From there, Romney's New Hampshire voters, which are more moderate, will fill the void with a resounding vote in his favor.

    Iowa does not matter.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  166. Peter D

    The Iowa caucuses are an important first step in the election process. When deciding who to be our President, why shouldn't a highly educated state set the tone for a national election? The state that consistently ranks in the top 3 nationally in test scores should vote first. I don't want latte drinking hippies and stuck-up trust fund babies deciding who should be President before Iowa!

    Peter D-former resident of Iowa

    January 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  167. Ronald

    Nothing, most of Iowa is out of touch with the rest of the country so it is really another exercise in futility. The GOP/Tea Party is also out of touch with most of the country. Their faithful, who have been fed regularly from the GOP/Tea Party brainwashing machine only believe what they are told instead of actually finding out what and where the truth lies.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  168. Tyler, Ohio

    I am appauled at you, sir. You can't honestly act like you automatically know who is going to win a nomination based on who the biased media likes. This election could go ANYWHERE, so stop automatically counting out Ron Paul!

    January 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  169. Phil in KC

    You understate the importance of the Iowa caucuses Jack.
    On the Democrat's side, the caucus winner went on to get the nomination in '80, '84, '96, '00, '04 & '08. And in '76 Carter was the leading vote getter (behind 'uncommitted').
    On the Republican side, it was '76, '84, '92, '96, '00 and '04. Ronald Reagan came in 2nd in '80. Before that, not too many people thought he could actually win.
    Yes, Iowans do have a large white population, but there are minorities. Plus, Iowa has perfected retail politics (those hard questions thrown by knowledgeable people you referenced). By the way, Iowans are among the most educated people in the country.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  170. Eric - Hotlanta

    You have to start somewhere, so why not Iowa? I would say it is better than starting in swing states like Ohio and Florida. The Iowa process allows the rest of the country to see who is organized, you can best answer questions and basically it helps with narrowing the field be weeding out also-rans. There are several GOP candidates that need to call it quits and go home.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  171. Jim Green, Seguin,TX

    Jack, in a world of 7 billion, a nation of 300+ million–not much

    January 3, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  172. Shawn

    Instead of hating on Iowa (probably by people who couldn't find the state on the map if they had to), you should be thanking us for taking one for the team. I received 8 calls in 2 hours yesterday from pollsters trying to get us to vote for their candidate. Not to mention that if you look historically, the Iowa caucuses have failed to elect the eventual presidential winner 3 times, one of those times being when an Iowa senator ran against Clinton. Say what you will, we know how to pick winners.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  173. Angie in Des Moines

    Romney hardly spent any time here yet leads in polls. People already have their minds made up. This Iowa girl is happy its almost over. Robo calls are relentless.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  174. Elke Sampson

    It's like waiting for Groundhog Day, its a big deal but doesn't really mean anything.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  175. realitypolice

    Unbelievable. For decades the Iowa Caucuses have been the unquestioned spring board for candidates prospects and have in fact been extremely influential. If Obama had lost in Iowa, he wouldn't be President today. In all of those elections over all of that time, I never read one article or opinion piece ridiculing the importance of these caucuses. But now that Ron Paul is about to launch himself into the top tier of the race by winning tonight, all of the sudden the Iowa Caucuses are meaningless. Nonsense.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  176. Dennis B.

    It is good to eliminate the weak candidates.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  177. Tony in SC (but not from SC)

    I just saw where 8pm tonight is also the season premiere of "The Biggest Loser".
    How do I determine which show is which?

    The candidates are all equally terrible, except Huntsman.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  178. Jack from Des Moines Iowa

    It is the first part of seperating the wheat from the chaffe. Candidates spread out all over the state for weeks sticking their heads in every door way or window to talk about how they are the chosen one to lead us to salvation, all the while tripping over their own words and falling on their face. The truth is, the other 49 states should thank us for hosting this side show in our front yard and sparing yours!

    January 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  179. Thomas Kraft

    This year the Iowa Caucus means more than ever.. This year we get to see the level of corruption of our government and of our putrid media.. Ron Paul has proven himself to have what it takes leading in nearly all the polls and polling extremely well against Obama.. Yet the media continues to try and fool everyone into thinking he is un-electable. But worse than the disgusting media is what the republican party is doing in Iowa right now trying to set it up so they can forge the results.. Absolutely Embarrassing.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  180. Emily

    As an Iowan I realize my opinions are slightly biased. However, I think it is important that people realize that Iowa is not as backwoods and conservative as people think. The University of Iowa was the first public university to admit women and African Americans. Iowa is one of few states to legalize gay marriage. Iowa frequently votes democratically. Iowans are citical thinkers and offer up an interesting first take on the elections. Yes Iowa has a higher percentage of caucasions and rural citizens. But Iowa offers up a suprising mix of liberal and coservative voters.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  181. Tom in Des Moines

    Iowa is sufficiently small to allow all candidates the opportunity to build a base organization and see if their respective messages resonate with a well-informed population.Iowans are among the highest educated, most literate state populations per capita. Another advantage is that Iowa is not a swing state with a great number of electoral votes at stake. Although Iowa is often referred to as a "winnower," its record is pretty good at choosing the eventual candidate, although the Democrats have a better record at that than the GOP. Past Iowa winners: Carter 76, Mondale 84, Dole 96, GW Bush 00, Gore,00, Kerry 04, and Obama 08.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  182. Henri D Kahn

    The Iowa Caucus is an organized group of people joined by a cause to declare which candidate they want to represent the Republican Party in the upcoming Presidential election.
    This highly publicized event has little or no effect on the final outcome of the race for candidacy.
    The primary outcome of this exercise is to get an insight into the different persons wanting to be the candidate for the Republican Party.
    This is part of the essence of a Democracy.
    Henri D. Kahn
    Laredo, Texas

    January 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  183. David Cooney in WA

    It means the beginning of the end for those candidates who really don't have a chance, and the beginning of the real battle for those who do. Iowa is only one of fifty, but each one is important whether it is a caucus or a primary.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  184. Kevin S. from Rockwall TX

    Its like spin the bottle, but with a corn cob.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  185. Andre

    With all the money and fund-raising spent on campaigning/advertisements in Iowa, why doesn't any of it go towards solving the US deficits. If these candidates want to lead the country, then they should lead it by setting a example of what we can do now to help America. You don't need a another politician, America needs a leader that can make a difference.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  186. Linell, Winter Park, FL

    About as much as the Iowa straw poll where .01% of the people (in the U. S.) expressed their preferences and the media covered it like mad dogs. Not sure the percentage is even that high...I was being generous.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  187. Hwhite

    As usual, the importance of an event is inversely proportonal to the time CNN devotes to it.

    January 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm |