You’ve heard about all the polls showing which candidate is up and which is down, but many of the Iowans planning to attend the February 1, 2016 Iowa Caucuses haven’t made up their minds yet.
The pollsters are asking likely Iowa Caucus-goers: who’s your first choice, if the Caucuses were held today? And today’s top choice may not be their top choice on Caucus Night. For example, Jerry Donovan of Des Moines went to last Friday’s Iowa Democratic Party gathering in Cedar Rapids to cheer for Bernie Sanders.
“I’ve made my choice, but everything is subject to change in life, you know that,” said Donovan, smiling.
Charles Crowley of Cedar Rapids is married to a Hillary Clinton supporter and he’s leaning toward supporting Clinton, too, but he’s not yet ready to commit.
“I guess at this point I just want to see what the others have to say,” Crowley said as he waited in line to buy a beverage at last weekend’s Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame dinner. “I’ve heard Bernie Sanders. I like him. I like his positions, but I don’t think he’s got the charisma to carry it off.”
Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman Andy McGuire said all five competitors for her party’s nomination are getting a “fair shot” in Iowa.
“I’ve heard a lot of people who they might be leaning one way or learning another, but they’re listening to everyone,” McGuire said during an interview before the banquet began. “…It’s everybody’s game right now.”
Turning to the Republican contest, John Stineman — an Iowa-based consultant who is not affiliated with any of the GOP candidates — said during an appearance last weekend on Iowa Public Television that many Christian conservative who make up a significant segment of his party tend to make their voting decision just before the Caucuses.
“That fluidity within the Republican Caucus-going voting block, that’s around the low 20s, that breaks very, very late in the game,” Steinman said. “And where are they going to be?”
Steinman pointed to the late surge of support from Christian conservatives that carried Mike Huckabee to victory in Iowa’s 2008 Caucuses and Rick Santorum into first place in 2012.
According to Barb Schulz of Fort Dodge, it’s difficult to decide because there are so many Republicans in the race.
“I plan to think and pray on it,” Schulz said during an interview with Radio Iowa last Saturday. “And listen.”
Schulz and her husband attended Saturday’s Family Leadership Summit in Ames. Pat Mincer of Iowa City was there, too, to listen to the 10 candidates.
“You take a little bit out of each one and you just kind of put it in your think tank here and try to sort it all out,” Mincer said.
Mincer is shooting to make her decision by the end of the year.
The Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register “Iowa Poll” conducted two months ago found 11 percent of likely Republican Caucus-goers said they were uncommitted or not sure which candidate was their first choice if they had to vote now. Among likely Democratic Caucus-goers, 14 percent were in the uncommitted or not sure categories.