About 120,000 Iowans participated in the Republican Party’s Caucuses in 2008. Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn has been asked many times in the past week if turn-out for the 2012 Caucuses will match that.
Strawn cites a variety of variables, like data that shows there are more registered Republican voters in Iowa today compared to four years ago. Strawn also points to the attendance at this summer’s Iowa Republican Party Straw Poll as an indicator.
“You didn’t have Romney, you didn’t have Perry, you didn’t have Gingrich participating at the Straw Poll, yet we had the second-largest turn-out ever,” Strawn told Radio Iowa. “Many people were predicting before the Straw Poll that it was going to be a lightly attended event. It was far from that.”
Finally, Strawn suggests Republicans, in general, are a motivated lot.
“The fact of the matter is it’s the first chance anywhere that Republicans have a chance to cast a vote to start replacing Barack Obama,” Strawn said. “So I think, all things being equal, the potential exists for a strong Republican turn-out.”
Craig Robinson, operator of the for-profit www.IowaRepublican.com, was the Iowa GOP’s political director in 2008. He is offering a prediction on turn-out. “I expect turn-out to be strong, around that 120,000 mark, but maybe not beat last caucuses’ totals.”
Strawn, the party chairman, concedes the barrage of negative campaign advertising on Iowa’s radio and television stations may “turn some voters off,” but Strawn says attendance at the Iowa Republican and Democratic Party Caucuses on Tuesday night is “one of the strongest arguments” Iowans can make for retaining the state’s lead-off status in the presidential selection process.
Iowa Democrats are holding Caucuses on Tuesday night, but with an incumbent president, the Democratic meetings have not garnered as much attention. President Obama’s campaign, however, has had eight offices operating throughout the state for months and Obama is scheduled to connect with Caucus-goers in a live video address on Tuesday night.