Early Reports Suggest High Turnout at Iowa Caucuses

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Huge caucus. Photo: JIM WATSON

Maybe Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders really did attract a wave of new voters into the process. Maybe the unseasonably warm weather — balmy low 40s — has put Iowans of all stripes in a caucusing mood. Or maybe political reporters are just anxious for an exciting story line. 

Whatever the reason, Twitter is overflowing with reports of high turnout at Iowa caucus sites:

Turnout is critical in any election, but it’s expected to be an even more important variable in tonight’s close contests. Both Sanders and Trump draw much of their support from potential first-time caucusgoers. The trouble with first-time voters is they’re uniquely liable to become next-time voters. Thus, conventional wisdom suggests that the higher the turnout, the better the chances one or both anti-Establishment candidates will win the night. In the last 24 hours, one poll of the Democratic race had Clinton up by three points; the other had Sanders down by the same amount. The difference? The latter poll projected slightly higher turnout. 

Early Reports Suggest High Turnout in Iowa