About 120,000 Iowans participated in the Caucuses back 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. This is what he told Radio Iowa: “Obviously there’s so many variables that go into it.”
Strawn cited data that shows there are more registered Republican voters in Iowa today compared to four years ago.
“If you were someone who has been motivated to register as a Republican over the last couple of years — and we’ve had 33 straight months of Republican registration gains, then chances are you are sufficiently motivated to show up on Caucus Night,” Strawn said.
Strawn also pointed to the attendance at this summer’s Iowa GOP Straw Poll in Ames as an indicator. It was the second-largest ever — and candidates Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry did not participate in the event.
The party chairman concedes, however, that the barrage of negative campaign advertising on Iowa’s radio and television stations may be a deterrent.
“Political scientists will tell you that that has the potential to chill turn-out and turn some voters off, so I hope that’s not the case because one of the strongest arguments that I can be equipped with to keep defending Iowa as to why we should be first is Iowans showing up to vote on Caucus Night,” Strawn said. “The more Iowans that do so, on either side quite frankly, the stronger arguments the parties have when it comes to keeping Iowa first four years from now.”
Yes, 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 reelection campaign, however, has had eight offices operating throughout the state for months. President Obama is scheduled to connect with Caucus-goers in a live video address on Tuesday night.