Power Rankings: Iowa Caucus – Democrats (January). Too Close To Call

There’s fewer degrees of Fahrenheit outside in Iowa right now than there are days left until the Iowa Caucus, but not by much. The final Democratic debate before the caucus was held last night, and it reflected a much changed dynamic since months past. Hillary Clinton is fighting for her life in Iowa, much as she did eight years ago. This time she’s better prepared and while Bernie Sanders is capturing all the enthusiasm, he’s still not Barack Obama from 2008. As those of us on the ground have predicted for a long time, it’s going to be very close […]

Monday Power Rankings: Iowa Caucus – Republicans (January)

Now that we’re under a month out from the Iowa Caucus, the Republican presidential field once again shows some real movement. The top two spots seem pretty secure at this point, but everything underneath looks increasingly up in the air. The battle to emerge from the first two states as the alternative to Cruz and Trump is on, with Rubio, Bush and Christie all desperate to make their mark here. Those five look to be the only serious candidates who can both continue long into the national primary and have a decent shot of winning Iowa. Others could still mount […]

Monday Rankings: Who Drops Out After Iowa?

The end is near. Not just for the Iowa Caucus, but for many candidates’ campaigns. A poor showing in Iowa will mean it’s time to close up shop for many presidential hopefuls. This is where a lot of the underdogs have put their hopes, using the retail politicking and organizing of Iowa to compete with the candidates with considerably more money. It still won’t be enough for many, however, and Iowa will once again play its role in winnowing the field. Here’s our rankings of who is most likely to drop out of the presidential race after Iowa: 1. Rick […]

Monday Power Rankings: Democrats – Sanders Still In It, But Clinton Leads

With the Des Moines Register releasing its latest Iowa Poll on the Democratic field this morning, let’s take a look at the state of the race for Democrats. Several other polls in recent months showed Clinton with a commanding lead in Iowa, but Ann Selzer’s survey often picks up support from first-time caucus-goers, and this latest one is better for Sanders. Clinton leads with 48% to Sanders’ 39%. O’Malley comes in a very distant third at 4%. So obviously our rankings for the Democrats are not going to change (as they haven’t all year), but there’s still plenty to mull […]

Monday Power Rankings: Senate Primary – Democrats

Most Iowa Republicans scoff at the idea of Democrats eager to take on Chuck Grassley in 2016. They’re probably right, but the election is going to get held anyway, so we’re still writing about it. Grassley easily won in 2010, the year after he began to take much harder right stances, which Democrats thought might make him vulnerable. This will be a presidential year, in which Democrats should see higher turnouts from their base. So there’s always a possibility – the question is whether any of the current Democratic candidates could really make it competitive. That being said, let’s take […]

Monday Power Ranking: Iowa Caucus – Republicans (November)

After months of several candidates’ rises and falls, the final picture of caucus night is starting to come into focus. A top tier of four candidates has emerged, composed of Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio, with Carson the shakiest of the bunch. It’s unclear whether any of the remaining hopefuls can climb their way up. Here’s Starting Line’s ranking of the Republicans’ chances for the Iowa Caucus as the month of November closes out: 1. Ted Cruz Ted Cruz will win the Iowa Caucus. He, more than any other candidate (yes, even Trump), has a finger […]

Monday Power Ranking: 1st District – Democrats (August ’15)

The race to be the Democrat to beat Rod Blum has taken quite a few twists and turns this summer. Ravi Patel is out; Pat Murphy is in. While Chet Culver remains the 800-pound gorilla in the room that people are waiting on for the 3rd District race, Pat Murphy was more like a 400-pound one for the 1st. Still a very formidable candidate whose entrance would alter the race, but not so intimidating that he scared away any competition. Now he’s in, shortly after releasing a poll that shows him in the lead and well-positioned for the 2016 primary. […]

Monday Power Ranking: Iowa Caucus – Democrats (July)

I’ll be honest: last week I had a different idea of how I was going to rank this. I planned on taking the bold step of putting Bernie Sanders at number one, making the argument that if the Iowa Caucus were to be held today, he’d win it. Despite the Clinton organizing advantage, the sheer enthusiasm of the Sanders surge right now would flood caucus precincts with too many new Bernie-backing voters, and Clinton would narrowly lose out. I even had a really awesome opening line for the lede, which I’m sad I can’t use now. But such a move […]

Monday Power Ranking: State Senate Races

Once again, Iowa Democrats enter another campaign cycle in which their majority in the State Senate, their last bastion of power in state government, holds on by a 26-24 margin. Democrats can’t afford to lose a single seat, or if so, they must pick up another seat elsewhere in a tough district. The difference between Iowa becoming an all-Republican governed state comes down to a handful of local legislative races in districts of only about 60,000 people each. So let’s take a look ahead to these important looming campaigns. And a note on the rankings – this far out, with […]

Monday Power Ranking: Iowa Caucus – Republicans (June)

There’s been a lot of movement in the Republican field since the last time we ranked them about a month ago, so let’s check back in. The GOP presidential race is the one we’ll probably return to the most since the huge list of candidates and actual developments makes it a much more dynamic race than anything else we’re talking about. 1. Scott Walker The Harley-riding Governor had a lot of fun at Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride a few weeks back, the only candidate to participate with Ernst in the “Ride” part with veterans. For whatever reason, Walker still […]