Take Our Video Tour Of Iowa’s Changing Voting Trends By Precinct

Here at Starting Line, I’ve written several posts looking at precinct-by-precinct results from both the 2016 election and the Iowa Caucus to give readers a sense of how and why Iowa’s voting trends are changing. No swing state shifted more than Iowa in the general election (from Obama +6 in 2012 to Trump +10 in 2016), but to really understand it all you need to look at individual precincts to see where the changes occurred. Fortunately, a data lover by the name of Ryne Rohla compiled the voting data for every precinct in the United States and put it all in […]

How Dubuque County Went Republican For The 1st Time Since Eisenhower

The election of 2016 provided many surprising results to longtime Iowa politics watchers, but one county shaded in red stood out most of all: Dubuque. The working class Catholic river town of Northeast Iowa was won by the Republican presidential candidate for the first time since 1956, when it was Dwight Eisenhower on the ballot. With just under 100,000 residents, Dubuque is Iowa’s seventh-largest county, and often gives the Democrats healthy victory margins (about a 10,000 vote margin in 2008, 7,000 in 2012). Not in 2016, though. Barack Obama took Dubuque County with a 15-point victory in 2012, winning there 56.5% to Mitt […]

The Sentence I Didn’t Get To Write In 2016

As we count down the hours until the end of this much maligned year of 2016, many are eager to forget all the awful memories from a such a volatile, nasty year. As for writers like myself, the end of a year comes with regrets about planned stories not written and projects never completed. I have notepads filled with story ideas that I just plain ran out of time to finish. But one abandoned post in particular sticks out, not one that was cut due to lack of time, but by a change in circumstance. I had planned on writing a personal reflection on […]

The Iowa Caucus Emerges From 2016 In A Strong Position

A lot of American institutions came out worse for the ware from the volatile 2016 presidential election. Except for one: the Iowa Caucus. The always-at-risk lead-off contest will come out of this year in a much stronger situation than previously thought. A Donald Trump presidency and a Democratic Party in turmoil makes it considerably more likely that Iowa’s place in the primary process remains. Now, let me first make perfectly clear: Yes, there’s way bigger consequences that came out of this election, and no Democrat is going to be happy that the caucus is saved due to Donald Trump’s election. […]

The Fight To Take It All Back Begins Today

Last night was a very bad night for the Iowa Democratic Party and the future of our state. Iowa was engulfed in a red tidal wave that wiped out the party’s majority in the Iowa Senate, handing full control of state government over to the Republicans. The legislative session will be a frightening one, and many Democrats are wondering today whether the party can ever claw it’s way back from this red state status. The answer is a simple one: we can. Despite the incredible difficulties that lie ahead and the vast shift in Iowa policies certain to come, there are real […]

Iowa Democrats Obliterated At All Levels: The Fallout

It could take years for Iowa Democrats to recover from the utter shellacking they took on Tuesday night, when a total realignment in voting trends struck the state hard. Some rural and blue collar counties that went for Barack Obama in 2012 saw swings to Donald Trump by as much as 30 points. Democrats lost every single one of the highly competitive senate and house races and even a few that weren’t on the playing field. Here’s a look at how the important races shook out: President Trump won Iowa by 10 points, a 16-point swing from Obama’s 2012 result. […]

What Numbers To Watch In Iowa Tonight

Here we go! Election night approaches, and we’ll start getting a sense of who has won and lost in Iowa starting at 9:00 PM when polls close. Here’s a handful of things that I think will be important for Iowa politics watchers to keep their eye on tonight. If you want to follow me live, I’ll be on WOI/ABC 5 from 9:45 to 10:45 to discuss down-ballot races. I’ll update with posts tonight as much as I can, but I’m not sure where all I’ll be. The Polk County Early Vote Longtime Iowa politics watchers know that the first big piece […]

Where The Early Vote Stands On Election Day

Voters streamed into auditor’s offices across Iowa on Monday, getting their vote in one day before Election Day arrived. Long lines were seen in Polk, Black Hawk, Johnson, Linn and Scott counties. Voters who still had their absentee ballots hopefully brought them into auditor’s offices or planned on taking them to the polls – sending them in at this point means they won’t arrive on time. The Secretary of State’s office released their usual early vote report Monday afternoon. In 2012 they also gave an update on Election Day, so it’s possible we get one more bit of information on the […]

AFSCME Looks To Put Clinton Over The Top In Iowa In Final Push

As the final countdown begins for the close of polls in Iowa, thousands of volunteers are spread out across the state knocking on doors, collecting absentee ballots and dragging every last person they can get to the polls. A big part of Democrats’ GOTV efforts come from organized labor, and AFSCME is providing a good chunk of that, both for Hillary Clinton and down-ballot legislative candidates. AFSCME’s Iowa operation has 340 volunteers working around Iowa to turn out voters and their members. They’ve focused in on getting their members to cast their ballots early; 59% of their Iowa membership has already […]

The End Is Near

Are we done yet? The closer we’ve gotten to the election, the longer every day seems to drag on, so who knows how today will feel. At this point, everyone is emotionally exhausted, from the candidates to the campaign staff to the volunteers to the voters. I’ve been trying to think of some interesting way to wrap this whole election coverage up, but honestly I’ve covered most of the major themes I’ve wanted to. There’s still several stories that I wanted to write that I never got around to, and my brain has simply been mush the past week so […]