Ladbrokes and Betfair have now got markets up on the first big hurdle in WH2020 – the Iowa Caucuses which are scheduled for February 3rd next year. Because of their historical importance and that so many Democrats are contenders this looks set to be a hugely significant day and a very big betting event.
The first thing to remember about them is that only a smallish proportion of Democrats and Republicans actually participate. This time for both parties it might reach 20% of their voters in the state. This is critical because what the remaining 80% think is totally irrelevant and has no impact on the outcome.
That makes polling extraordinarily challenging. Whilst maybe much larger proportions than 20% might tell pollsters they plan to attend their caucus the experience is that the actual turnout level is a lot smaller. Going out for a 7pm event on a freezing Iowan February evening is not something that has wide appeal.
The second thing as to what actually happens is well explained in the 2016 video above.
What we do know is the contenders with good ground organisation who have invested the time in the state tend to perform best. We also know there is the potential for Iowa to throw up big surprises.