Donald Trump Basically a Sure Thing for Iowa Republican Caucuses

Posted on: January 15, 2024, 09:14h. 

Last updated on: January 17, 2024, 05:00h.

Former President Donald Trump is expected to be Monday night’s big winner when voters make their voices heard for the first time in the 2024 primary season.

Donald Trump 2024 Iowa Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis exits a campaign stop in a snowy Iowa on Friday, Jan. 12, 2024. DeSantis is hoping for a big night tonight during the Iowa caucuses. But former President Donald Trump is the heavy betting front-runner. (Image: AP)

Iowa is the first state in the union to conduct its primary this presidential election. Accustomed to cold temperatures and snowy winters in January, Iowans will brave historically frigid weather Monday evening to venture to high schools and community centers to participate in the first-in-the-nation caucuses.

Trump, seeking to represent the Republican Party for a third consecutive presidential election cycle, is the heavy betting favorite to emerge as Monday night’s victor. Traders on the political wagering exchange PredictIt gives the 45th president a 96% chance of securing the most votes.

During his final appeal to Iowa voters yesterday, Trump said this is their time to make their voice louder than “all of the liars, cheaters, thugs, perverts, frauds, and crooks.” 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has the next-best odds at an implied chance of just 6%. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy is third at 2%, and former South Carolina Governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is fourth at only a penny.

Caucuses Process

Republicans and Democrats conduct their Iowa caucuses in vastly different ways.

While Democrats require voters to move to the physical sides of their caucus site to support their fellow Iowans behind a specific candidate, Republicans first hold a town hall where designated community members make final campaign speeches on behalf of their preferred candidate. After those addresses, caucus attendees receive their ballots and make their picks in secret.

The ballots are collected, verified, and counted, with the results posted to the state GOP website. The Iowa caucuses begin at 7 p.m. CT.

While each candidate hopes to upset Trump and come out on top, political pundits believe DeSantis, Haley, and Ramaswamy are essentially battling for second. The runner-up position would be a major victory for each candidate, as Iowa issues its 40 Republican delegates based on the share of the caucus vote each candidate receives.

Smarkets, a peer-to-peer political betting exchange, gives Trump an implied chance of 94% in securing the most delegates on Monday night. While Trump will likely kick off his reelection campaign in winning fashion and tout his success as a vote against the DC establishment and the many federal prosecutors and lawmakers seeking to put him in prison for the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, the candidate who comes in second will improve their odds of becoming Trump’s primary foe this primary.

Iowa Democrats Fold on Caucus

Monday’s vote in Iowa will be centered on the Republicans, as the Iowa Democratic Party opted to bypass its regular caucus in favor of an exclusive mail-in ballot system that runs until Super Tuesday, which this year is March 5. Democratic voters in Iowa can cast a primary vote via mail-in ballot as of Monday.

President Joe Biden is running unopposed from any serious challenger. He’s expected to field all 46 delegate votes in Iowa.

It’s worth noting that Iowa allows voters to change their party affiliation on election day. With many Iowa Democrats afraid of another Trump presidency, political observers in the Hawkeye State believe a faction of Democrats will take advantage of that option to move GOP primary support to one of the three Trump challengers.