Monday, January 25, 2016

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Will First-Time Voters Make The Difference In Iowa And New Hampshire?

In the few days left before the Iowa caucus and the New
Hampshire primary, there is some evidence that the two
candidates doing best in early polls, Bernie Sanders on
the Democratic side, and Donald Trump on the Republican
side, might depend on first-time and perhaps previously
unaffiliated voters in both contests if they are to win.
Various accounts on the ground in both locales, primarily
unmeasured and speculative, signal that traditional party
activists and hitherto likely voters are probably going to
choose from among more traditional candidates. In both
Iowa and New Hampshire, voters from both major parties,
as well as independents, can choose either caucus/primary
to vote in.

Historically, predictions of unusual surges in first-time
voters have often failed to materialize. But there are
exceptions when first-time voters can make a difference in
a major political contest. Perhaps one of the most notable of
these was in the 1998 Minnesota governor’s race when, in
spite of two well-known and credible major party nominees,
independent candidate Jesse Ventura brought out a last-minute
and unprecedented number of younger and older first-time
voters on election day and won a memorable upset Only weeks
before, he had trailed invery distant third place.

Weather might also be a factor. The forecast for Des Moines
on February 1 is currently low 30s, warmer than usual for a
Caucus night.

The early voting for the 2016 presidential race is now
becoming more unpredictable.

Copyright (C) 2016 by barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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