Will the state’s main paper be the top pollster again?
In the 2004 race for the Democratic nomination the final poll for the state’s main newspaper, the Des Moines Register, came closest to predicting what was a sensational result – the defeat of the early front runner and heavy odds-on favourite, Howard Dean. After his defeat there the former governor of Vermont never really recovered and the winner of the state caucuses, John Kerry, went on to take the nomination.
The graphic above, reproduced from the paper, shows the closing numbers and indicates a big boost for both Barack Obama in the Democrat race and Mike Huckabee for the GOP. Both of them had seen substantial leads decline over recent days and this news will give real heart to their campaigns.
The main challenge for all the camps is the sheer complexity of the caucus system. Your supporters have to get to their local caucus meeting place from 6.30 pm. The doors are closed at 7pm and late-comers are not allowed to take part. In a conventional election the campaigns can tick off their supporters as they go into vote so the last few hours can be devoted to rounding up the stragglers. In Iowa on Thursday night that option is not available and much will depend on the massive advance planning that has gone in.
Obama and Huckabee might be leading in this latest poll but will their supporters be motivated enough to be there at the stated time?
There are lots of betting options on various primaries and the overall winner. At the time of writing this (0705 GMT) Obama was the 0.6/1 favourite for Iowa on Betfair with Huckabee the 0.62/1 favourite for the GOP caucus.