Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack this past week questioned the accuracy of polls in Iowa which showed him running well behind other candidates in the race for the White House. Vilsack, a Democrat who ended his campaign on February 23rd, says none of the polls in Iowa reflected the level of support he believes he had in Iowa.
Drake University political science professor Dennis Goldford says polls aren’t perfect. "But there is such an attempt for them to be scientific…that generally speaking they’re reasonably accurate," Goldford says. Goldford does a little math of his own — using some of the data Vilsack himself boasted about.
"The governor kept saying he had commitments from 3,000 Iowans to caucus for him next January," Goldford says. "On the one hand that’s impressive, but on the other hand if you figure there will probably be 100,000 to 120,000 Democrats caucusing next January — that’s three percent or less."
Goldford concludes that Vilsack was caught in the "classic ‘Catch-22’ of electoral politics" which requires candidates to raise money to show they’re viable. But for candidates to convince potential donors they are credible, the candidate has to have already raised a lot of money. Vilsack said this week that for as long as he lives, he will believe that he would have won the Iowa Caucuses if he had stayed in the race. Vilsack’s "exit interview" with statehouse reporters will air on Iowa Public Television next Friday night.