A Winter Blast For 2024 Iowa Caucuses

Iowa — The final weekend of campaigning is ahead, leading up to what may be the chilliest evening ever for the Iowa Caucuses.

The candidates are fully aware of the forecast. Ron DeSantis says Floridians usually don’t go north in the winter. “I haven’t ever experienced negative 15 degrees in my life,” he said at an event Thursday. Nikki Haley is from South Carolina. “In October and November and December, I’m like: ‘It’s cold!’ And everybody was like: ‘No, it’s really mild,'” Haley said Thursday morning. “I get it now.”

Iowa State University political science professor Dave Peterson says the temperatures will be a test of voters’ attitudes about the candidates. “You’re going to have to be pretty enthusiastic to go out there Monday night,” Peterson says. Peterson has been directing a monthly “Civiqs” poll for the past five months. In December, he described support for former President Trump as “durable.”

Peterson is using the word “immovable” after this month’s poll. “Nothing’s changed,” Peterson said. “It’s an entirely stable race.”

Jean Schlichtemeier of West Des Moines is a Trump voter who went to see him in Newton last weekend. “I think the other candidates are just playing politics and we need someone who’s gutsy — and this man seems to have guts,” she said.

In 2016, 37,000 Iowans who were Democrats registered as Republicans on Caucus Night in order to cast a straw poll vote for president. Mary Howard of Cedar Rapids says it’s hard to decide which party’s caucus she’ll attend this year. “I want to vote against Trump which would be the reason to go to the Republican Party thing,” Howard said at the end of December, “but I’m unsure of the candidates.”

There is one sure thing. The Caucuses will start at 7 p.m. Monday, regardless of the weather.


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