Iowa is not a reliable gauge of a candidate’s campaign success

Just like Kansas, it's predominantly white, older, middle class and heavily dependent on agriculture. Individually, none of these things are inherent detractors, but when taken collectively, they paint a picture that stands in contrast to heavily populated states.

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Opinion

February 5, 2020 - 9:23 AM

Democratic presidential candidate, South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks to supporters on Tuesday, Feb. 4, in Laconia, N.H. Buttigieg holds a narrow lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Iowa caucuses after an app used by the state Democratic Party to count results caused overnight delays, according to published reports. Photo by (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/TNS)

We hate to bash our almost-neighbor, but Iowa’s claims that it sets the stage for presidential elections is a tad much. 

And that’s without Monday night’s Democratic caucus snafu that has caused many to think it’s just not up to speed. By Tuesday evening, with the results still unknown, the candidates had moved their focus to the next battleground state of New Hampshire.

Technological glitches aside, the better reason to not put much stock in Iowa’s results is that it’s a poor representation of the country. Just like Kansas, it’s predominantly white, older, middle class and heavily dependent on agriculture. Individually, none of these things are inherent detractors, but when taken collectively they paint a picture that stands in contrast to the heavily populated states of Texas, Florida, New York and California. As such, voters’ interests and priorities in Iowa — or for that matter, the far-flung New Hampshire — likely don’t intersect as much with those of more diverse states.

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