We have seen the state of Iowa getting an inordinate amount of attention in the Presidential Election race of 2016, as we have seen since 1976. But when one looks at history, we should understand that the Iowa Caucuses are a pure waste of time, that Iowa is not representative of the nation, and the smart candidate would not put so much effort into the Hawkeye state!
The idea of a Presidential caucus is really very anti democratic, and a primary is a much better representation of the true feelings of the population of a state. Ideally, ALL states should have primaries, not caucuses.
But since Iowa has a Presidential caucus, the facts are that much of the time, it has had little or no effect on the Presidential elections.
The record shows that four out of ten times, the Republican caucus in Iowa has chosen a candidate who did not go on to be the GOP nominee–George H. W. Bush in 1980, Bob Dole in 1988, Mike Huckabee in 2008, and Rick Santorum in 2012. Three other times, the incumbent President had no opposition–Ronald Reagan in 1984, George H. W. Bush in 1992, and George W. Bush in 2004. And in 1976, in a contested caucus, President Gerald Ford edged out over Ronald Reagan. Only in 1996 and 200 were the candidates who won the nomination (Bob Dole and George W. Bush) able to win the Iowa Caucuses. And only the second Bush winning Iowa in 2000 led to the Presidency!
The Democrats have had the Iowa Caucuses be more successful, with the nominee of the party being the winner of the Caucuses seven out of ten times, all but 1976, with “Uncommitted” winning; Dick Gephardt in 1988, and Tom Harkin in 1992, but realizing that Gephardt was from neighboring Missouri, and Harkin was an Iowa ‘favorite son”! Jimmy Carter in 1980, Bill Clinton in 1996, and Barack Obama in 2012 all won second term support, with Walter Mondale, Al Gore, John Kerry and Barack Obama winning contested primaries when they ran in 1984, 2000, 2004 and 2008 respectively. And only Obama winning Iowa in 2008 led to the Presidency!
The conclusion is that it really does not matter who wins Iowa as only two Presidents winning Iowa have gone on directly to become President, and that New Hampshire’s Primary is much more accurate and representative in the long run of history as to who will be the party nominees!