A veteran of two previous Iowa Caucus campaigns has developed a complicated formula to predict Caucus turn-out. John Stineman predicts about 120,000 Iowans will participate in the Caucuses.
“In looking at the past results of the Iowa Caucuses over the last five cycles, going back to 1980, and it would appear that when you look at those factors that you’re going to have a higher turn-out in 2012,” Stineman told Radio Iowa.
Just over 118,000 Iowans participated in the 2008 Iowa Caucuses, the highest turn-out ever. Stineman identified three basic “types” of candidates in Caucuses of the past: the “brand-name Republican”, the “idea” or “agenda” candidate and the “more conservative outsider”.
“When you add their totals together in the past by the type of candidate they are, you can start to see trends,” Stineman said. “With those trends, when they’re applied to the latest Iowa Poll, you can project what kind of year it will be in terms of turn-out.”
Stineman doesn’t consider weather in his turn-out prediction formula. “There’s always much discussion about weather as it relates to the Caucus, but history has shown that it’s not much of a factor,” Stineman said. “Iowans generally get out when it’s cold, or not (cold).”
The average turn-out for the Iowa Republican Party’s Caucuses since 1980 is 103,000. The lowest turn-out of the modern era was in 2000, the year George W. Bush won, when turn-out didn’t quite reach 86,000.
Stineman, a Des Moines-based consultant, was the manager of the Steve Forbes campaign in 2000 and he worked for Phil Gramm’s campaign in 1996.