This year’s Iowa precinct caucuses will be held on February 1 in the 1,681 precincts of the state. Delegates selected at these caucuses (meetings) are pledged to the various presidential candidates and will be sent to the 99 county conventions. Voting in primary elections can be done any time when the polling places are open. It is done in secret and takes as little as a few minutes. Attending a caucus means showing up at a specific time in the evening. It consumes far more time and requires taking a public stand for a specific candidate in full view of the neighbors. The caucus process puts a premium on organization to get supporters to the polls and keep them together once they arrive there. A recent statewide meeting of Trump precinct captains was attended by only about 160 activists, fewer than 10% of the 1681 precincts in the state. Public opinion polls based on registered voters have proven wildly inaccurate in predicting the outcome of the Iowa caucuses.

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