Election 2020

The 'Klobuchar Factor' Threatens to Upend Iowa Caucus

Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) attend a news conference on the East Front lawn to introduce the Voting Rights Advancement Act on June 22, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Senator Amy Klobuchar has received double-digit support from potential Iowa caucus-goers in the latest poll, leading some to speculate that it’s now a five-way race for delegates.

Klobuchar began the campaign registering barely a blip on pollsters’ radar. Over the last few months, crowds have grown in size and enthusiasm. It appears that the more people hear her, the more supporters she picks up.

Klobuchar is not likely to win Iowa, but finishing ahead of Pete Buttigieg or even Elizabeth Warren would shock the party and scramble the rest of the early primaries.

As it stands now, Klobuchar wouldn’t win any delegates. Candidates need at least 15 percent of the vote from caucus-goers to qualify for delegates. Currently, the Monmouth University poll has Klobuchar at 10 percent, trailing Buttigieg (15 percent), Warren (16 percent), Sanders (21 percent), and Biden (23 percent).

But considering where she came from and the enthusiasm her campaign appears to be generating, anything is possible.

USA Today:

The final outcome in Iowa will hinge on how many candidates make the 15% cut and whom the supporters of those who don’t make the cut vote for in the second round. Turnout, which has fluctuated widely in recent elections, will have a major affect.

“A turnout swing of as few of 10,000 voters could determine who ‘wins’ the caucus if it is driven by a specific demographic group,” says Patrick Murray, the director of Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Almost half (45%) of likely participants say they could change their mind on caucus night.

“Caucus electorates are the most difficult to model in polling,” Murray says. “The smartest takeaway from this, or any Iowa poll for that matter, is to be prepared for anything on Monday.”

And that “anything” could include a Klobuchar surge. There will actually be 3 “winners” on Monday night. There will be a tally of preferences when attendees first walk in. There will then be a tally of votes for each candidate. The final total will be the number of delegates won.

That’s three chances for Klobuchar to break through in a volatile race where nearly half of Democrats have yet to make a firm decision on whom to support.

Klobuchar is currently cash-poor, which would hinder her in New Hampshire. She may find herself with some serious momentum but not enough resources to support it. But any headway made by Klobuchar weakens Biden, who attracts many of the same voters.

That can’t be a bad thing for Trump.