As has been the case since 1972, the 2024 presidential calendar kicks off with the Iowa caucuses on Monday evening. In a shift from prior cycles, only Republicans will hold a presidential preference vote.
Republicans will caucus beginning at 7:00 PM Central Time Monday. The Iowa GOP runs the caucuses, which encompass 1,657 precincts. First results, from smaller precincts, may be available within the first hour, with the whole process playing out over several hours.
While Iowa gets a lot of publicity for going first, the actual delegate pool is small. There are 40 delegates up for grabs, about 1.6% of a projected total of 2,429. These will be allocated proportionately based on the statewide vote.
Bookmark our aggregate delegate count map to keep track through the primary and caucus season as candidates accumulate delegates toward the 1,215 needed to win the Republican nomination.
Iowa is the first of 56 nominating contests that will take place through early June across the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and five U.S. Territories. Donald Trump is looking to be nominated by the Republican Party for a third successive cycle. If that happens, he will then look to follow the path of Democrat Grover Cleveland, the only person in U.S. history to be elected to a second, non-consecutive term as president.
Trump has been the dominant frontrunner in Iowa polling, which has been fairly consistent in the weeks leading up to the caucuses. As of Monday afternoon, the 270toWin average for candidates with at least 5% support is Trump 53%, Nikki Haley 19%, Ron DeSantis 16%, and Vivek Ramaswamy 7%.
One thing polls can't account for is the weather. Blizzard conditions beginning late last week forced the candidates to adjust their event schedules for the final weekend. While fair weather is forecast Monday, it is expected to be the coldest caucus night ever, with temperatures below zero statewide, and blustery conditions leading to windchills of minus 30 or lower.
Turnout is likely to be affected.
With a large, highly competitive field, Democrats eagerly anticipated the 2020 caucuses here. Unfortunately, results reporting became a debacle, which led to calls for Iowa to lose its traditional spot in the calendar. President Biden finished fourth here and fifth in the subsequent New Hampshire primary, before righting the ship in South Carolina.
For 2024, at Biden's urging, the Democratic National Committee attempted to unilaterally reorder the calendar to have early events in states with more diverse demographics. Owing to a combination of tradition, state law, and uncooperative state election officials, the effort was only partially successful.
In Iowa, these opposing forces have led to a separation of the in-person caucuses and the presidential preference vote. Monday's caucuses will conduct party business, although the absence of a presidential vote and the weather will likely mean greatly reduced participation.
The presidential vote will be conducted separately by mail. Preference cards are now available, and can be requested through February 19. Results will be released on Super Tuesday, March 5.