MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The first votes in the 2016 presidential election will be cast Monday night in Iowa and candidates are making their final push for support.
The latest Bloomberg/Des Moines Register poll has Donald Trump leading Ted Cruz 28 to 23 percent.
The Democratic race is equally very tight, with Hillary Clinton ahead of Bernie Sanders just 45 to 42 percent.
In the last four decades, only three non-incumbents have won Iowa and gone on to win the Presidency.
Jimmy Carter did in 1976, putting Iowa on the map. George W. Bush did it in 2000. Finally, Barack Obama did it in 2008.
Iowa has been first in the nation to cast its votes since 1972, and really just by coincidence.
Iowa used to make their pick in the spring, but in 1972 Democrats there switched to a more time-consuming caucus. They held it as early as possible because it took months to get everything in order before the convention.
Iowa Republicans followed in 1976.
The state liked all of the media coverage, so it passed a law requiring its caucus to start eight days earlier than any other presidential nominating contests.
Iowans have been first ever since, with New Hampshire’s primary following close behind on February 9.
It’s important to note Republicans and Democrats follow different caucus rules.
Republicans vote by secret ballot, so not all that different from a typical election. Iowa Democrats operate much more like a town meeting.
People stand-up to support their candidate, but if they don’t have at least 15 percent of the room those people have to be convinced to join another group.
And when it comes to Democrats, they have a pretty good track record for choosing the eventual nominee. They’ve only been wrong twice since 1976.
In 1988, Missouri’s Dick Gephardt won Iowa, but Michael Dukakis was nominated. In 1992, former Iowa Senator Tom Harkin won the caucus, but Bill Clinton got the nomination.
Republicans on the other hand have only been correct twice since 1980. They nominated Bob Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000.
However, in this election it could come down to South Carolina.
Since 1980, South Carolina has only gotten it wrong once in terms of the GOP nominee. That was in 2012 when Newt Gingrich won South Carolina beating out Mitt Romney
Minnesota’s caucus is one month away.