What Does The Deep-Freeze Turnout Mean for Iowa?

Snow covers half the face of former President Abraham Lincoln's statue at the Iowa State Capitol building on January 9, 2024, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa—The mother of all Iowa caucuses was the Democratic contest in 2008, when an estimated 240,000 folks came out for the showdown between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

That was nearly 100,000 more than the number who showed up four years earlier on the Democratic side, which we thought at the time was a pretty dramatic contest, what with the “Dean Scream” and all that.

But even at nearly a quarter-million participants, we should remember that Obama’s victory year was still small compared to a regular general election. Even if you add in the 119,188 Republicans who came out for the contest between Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, and John McCain, you’re still only at about a quarter of the turnout for a typical general election here.

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