With a little more sleep, and a chance to dig into the entrance polls and turnout data, here are some more observations about what happened in Iowa, and what’s likely to happen going forward.
The Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis campaigns designed their strategies around expectations of turnout in the 200,000 range, or about 7% higher than the record-setting 2016 Republican caucuses.
Ultimately, turnout was half of that estimate, coming in at around 100,000 participants. Last week, I made the case that voter participation in primaries can be a predictor of future enthusiasm and intensity of the base. As such, this steep drop in turnout would, on its face, suggest that Republican primary voters are less enthusiastic about the field of candidates than they were eight years ago.
But given the weather challenges on Monday night, I think it is far too early to make that kind of sweeping assessment. In fact, it wasn’t just one region or type of community where turnout was down; it was down everywhere from urban Polk County (Des Moines)
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