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Iowa: wtf (update1)

February 4, 2020


Ok, as of 5pm the day after, they managed to collect 62% of the results – i.e. they collected less than 1100 pieces of data in one day. This would be trivially easy, even without modern tech. It is a process that was reliable in the pre-fax-machine age. There’s something else going on.

With 62% of precincts reporting:

Delegate results: Buttigieg 27%, Sanders 25%, Warren 18%, Biden 16%, Klobuchar 13%

Vote results: Sanders 26%, Buttigieg 25%, Warren 21%, Biden 13%, Klobuchar 12%

Note that Sanders had more supporters than Buttigieg, but the quantization and reallocation worked in Buttigieg’s favor. I am a little unclear why the RealClearPolitics page is not assigning any delegates in their estimate to Biden or Klobuchar at this time. In any case, Biden and Klobuchar being under 15% in votes would be a concern for them going forward — i.e. they will want Mayor Pete out.

If the full statewide results extrapolate from this, it would be a little disappointing for Sanders, who came ~5-10% under some polls, and a complete disaster for Biden, who came in ~40% below what he was polling. Klobuchar and Buttigieg outperformed. In what may be a sign of things to come for Bloomberg, billionaire Steyer got nothing after spending more than $100M of his own money and flooding the airwaves.

Going forward, the question will be how long it can remain a 5-way race. It is possible that the Biden team figures they can get more delegates by using Buttigieg and Klobuchar as placeholders than by using Biden himself. While this may not be as crazy as it sounds for the DNC itself, it would be a spectacular sign of weakness for the general election. Alternatively, and probably more likely, Buttigieg and Klobuchar might fade as the next contests will be far from their home turf in geographical distance, demographics, and regional culture. More to come.


What a load of BS. Each caucus has a single page “results sheet”. It is public information, there are dozens of witnesses for each. Take a damn picture with your phone and email it in. How can they not figure this out? There are a couple hundred [correction- 1765] precincts from which a handful of numbers are to be collected. A clerk could have them entered into a spreadsheet in an hour or two at most. A team of 12 year olds organized in the obvious way would have it in done in 20 minutes.

I think they don’t want to report the results.



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  1. As I read the news, they have calculated the results in multiple ways, and they don’t match each other. So they might be able to report the results as you say, but if inconsistent with other methods, they want to find the source of discrepancies before reporting, I suppose.

    • They could be preliminary, as with all election results. And in any case they’ve been doing this with ordinary spreadsheets for decades, just not releasing all the numbers. To me it’s yet another example of a cel phone app taking a process that worked and replacing it with one that doesn’t. Also the contractor likely got the job as a handout to repay a favor by state party officials, with no incentive to do anything beyond the bare minimum.

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