2020 Iowa Caucuses

The Iowa Caucuses are expected to be held on February 3, 2020. The caucuses are an event where voters from all of 1,774 Iowa voting precincts meet to elect delegates to the county conventions. From the county convention, of which there are exactly 99, delegates are chosen for the state party convention.

Eventually, the state party convention elects delegates to attend the national party convention, where a Presidential nominee is selected. The process is similar for both Democratic and Republican candidates.

The winner of the Iowa caucus receives the most delegates elected to the county convention, which then elects delegates for that candidate to the state convention, and eventually, to the national convention.


2020 Iowa Democratic Caucus

For the latest and most up-to-date information on the 2020 Iowa Democratic Caucus, visit the Iowa Democratic Party.

Date: Monday, February 3, 2020

Registration Deadlines

Precinct Caucuses: Any person who is eligible to vote in the State of Iowa and will be at least 18 years old on Election Day (November 3, 2020) may participate in the Iowa Democratic Caucuses. The eligible caucus attendee must be registered as a Democrat or register at the precinct caucus as a Democrat.

Virtual Caucuses: Participants must be registered as a Democrat by December 31, 2019. Learn more about the Iowa Democratic Party Virtual Caucuses (PDF).

Caucus Locations

Democratic Caucus Locations

Delegates: 49 (41 pledged, 8 super)

Allocation: Proportional – Some delegates are allocated statewide and some are allocated by Congressional District. See Delegate Selection Plan (PDF) from the Iowa Democratic Party.

Type: Closed – Voters may only participate in the caucus of the party they are registered for.

Latest Polls

Poll
Date
Biden
Warren
Sanders
Harris
Buttigieg
Klobuchar
Steyer
Booker
Yang
O'Rourke
Gabbard
Delaney
Castro
Spread
RCP Average8/1 - 9/428.51817.58.57.52.52.51.51.51110.5Biden +10.5
CBS News/YouGov8/28 - 9/42917266722212111Biden +3
Monmouth8/1 - 8/42819911833120110Biden +9

Detailed Polling Results

Democratic Caucus Winners

2016: Hillary Clinton (D)
2008: Barack Obama (D)
2004: John Kerry (D)
2000: Al Gore (D)


2020 Iowa Republican Caucus

For the latest and most up-to-date information on the 2020 Iowa Republican Caucus, visit the Republican Party of Iowa.

Date: Monday, February 3, 2020

Registration Deadlines

Precinct Caucuses: Anyone who will be 18 by Election Day 2020 may attend and participate in a caucus. Participants must be registered as a Republican to participate in the Republican Caucus. Voter registration forms are available at each caucus location and participants can register the same day that they caucus.

Caucus Locations

Republican Caucus Locations

Delegates: 40

Type: Closed – Voters may only participate in the caucus of the party they are registered for.

Republican Caucus Winners

2016: Ted Cruz (R)
2012: Rick Santorum (R)
2008: Mike Huckabee (R)
2000: George W. Bush (R)
1996: Bob Dole (R)


How Do The Iowa Caucuses Work?

The caucuses do not work the same as a typical primary. For example, the caucuses are usually held in homes or smaller venues, where voters discuss the candidates, then make their choice. The results are tallied and sent into party headquarters. Iowans, some many political observers, actively defend the caucus as a shining example of grassroots democracy, others charge that caucuses are archaic, arcane, and unrepresentative.

Party chairs in the ninety-nine Iowa counties are explicitly charged with issuing the “call” to caucus, setting up caucus locations, and identifying temporary chairs for each of their caucuses. Unlike a primary election, the costs of the precinct caucuses are borne by the parties, not the state. One result is that one of the first activities of any precinct caucus is to “pass the hat” to raise funds for the county and state party. But also unlike a primary election, vote counting is done by the parties, not government officials.

The caucus model is though to give more power to the grassroots activists as it requires more involvement than simply visiting a regular polling location, and casting a vote. The presidential-year caucus date has been the same for both parties since the agreement in 1976, and the parties start their precinct caucuses at about the same time, often in the same building. Voters sign in on pre-printed forms listing all registered party members in their precinct. Those who are not registered with the party may register at the door, so caucus participants need not be registered voters ahead of time. This is different from primary elections in most states, with the exception of those few that allow election day registration. But no one is allowed to participate without becoming a registered party member.

Republican Caucus Procedure

In addition to casting a vote for president, the caucuses serve as a launch pad for grassroots activism. After casting your vote for president, members will be elected to serve on your local county central committee, delegates and alternate delegates will be selected for your county party convention and platform planks can be submitted to shape your county party platform.

Iowans gather according to party preference in designated schools, public buildings, churches, or even in private homes. Every effort is made to use public buildings for caucus locations, however, when public buildings are not available, churches or private residences are used. The caucus location is determined by the County Chairs of each political party for all 1,680 precincts. Individual locations are determined by accessibility and the expected turnout of each precinct. The polling locations for your primary and general elections are normally not the same location for your precinct’s caucus.

More information is available from the Republican Party of Iowa.

Democratic Caucus Procedure

The Democratic presidential preference rules are far more complex. This complexity comes because national party rules require proportional allocation of delegates at every level of a caucus-to-convention nomination system. The viability threshold requirement adds to this complexity, but the system may well end up giving more candidates a chance and more voters a choice, and bring about more sincere voting. Party rules require that “preference groups” not be formed until half an hour after the caucus opens, so the time is usually filled by reading letters of greetings from elected officials and passing the hat to raise money for the local and state parties. Once the appointed time arrives, things shift into gear.

More information is available from the Iowa Democratic Party.

Related:
2020 Primary Schedule