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On February 1st, 2016, Iowa held their first-in-the-nation Caucuses and announced their Democratic and Republican candidate choices for the
2016 Presidential election.  Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were the top two choices for the Democrats, and Ted Cruz and Donald Trump were the top two Republican choices.  Five months later, it appears as if two candidates out of that four will be the Presidential nominees.

Democrats and Republicans participated with their own party members to decide their presidential preferences for the election.  The Democratic party was the first party to initiate the Caucus procedure.  The Republican party followed with a Straw Poll.  For a step-by-step guide to the Caucuses and Primaries, please see: http://www.iowacaucus.biz/IA_Caucus_Howitworks.htm.


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Hillary Clinton


Donald Trump


Bernie Sanders


Ted Cruz




John Kasich




Marco Rubio


Hillary Clinton photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore.

Bernie Sanders photo courtesy of: United States Congress - http://sanders.senate.gov/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1878652.

Donald Trump New Hampshire Town Hall photo (August 19th, 2015) at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, NH courtesy of Michael Vadon.


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What was the financial outcome of the 2016 Iowa Caucus?

The financial spending by the presidential candidates in the state of Iowa for the 2016 Iowa Caucus has gone beyond any early predictions. The total from both political parties' campaign spending was around $72,412,524.03, which is $20,818,675.03 more than the amount spent in the 2008 Iowa Caucus (See 2008). This amount of money will ensure that Iowa will continue to fight to be first in the nation for future presidential caucuses and campaigns. The biggest winners in receiving the most funds from the candidates appears to be the media outlets in Iowa - mostly TV stations. They received around $65,000,000.00 to be divided up amongst a little over 20 TV stations (See below).

The top 3 candidates from both parties appear to have spent $.02/.03 cents per dollar from the total dollars dispursed for their campaign for travel, lodging, food, campaign staff salaries, and rental offices. This is only the amount spent in the state of Iowa not counting what was spent in other states.  The candidates who were below the top 3 appear to have only spent $.01 cent per dollar spent of their total dollars distributed in their campaign within the state of Iowa for travel, lodging, etc in the state of Iowa. A few of the candidates may have spent more and were not awarded one of the top 3 spots in the final caucus poll but there is nothing to indicate that any candidate spent more than .03 cents of their total distribution in the state of Iowa. These figures were based on what the candidates reported to the FEC.  We came up with two separate formulas: 1/37 percent of the total budget for the top 3 candidates and 1/60 percent of the total budget for those who did not finish in the top 3. 

Breakdown of Spending:

Democratic Spending for the Iowa Caucus: 

Candidate Ads (TV only) in Iowa Iowa Campaign Net Operation Expenditures 12-31-16
Hillary Clinton $9,400,000.00 $2,096,956.65* $77,587,396.20
Bernie Sanders $7,400,000.00 $1,263,615.10* $46,753,759.21
Martin O'Malley $219,000.00 $126,981.37   $4,622,391.07
Total $ 17,019,000.00 $ 3,487,553.12  $ 128,963,546.48

Republican Spending for the Iowa Caucus:

Candidate Ads ( TV only) in Iowa Iowa Campaign Net Operation Expenditures 12-31-16
Ted Cruz $6,000,000.00  $766,271.96* $28,352,062.59
Donald Trump $3,300,000.00  $336,240.32* $12,440,892.08
Marco Rubio $11,800,000.00  $801,769.22* $29,665,461.29
Ben Carson $3,500,000.00  $791,149.38^ $47,468,963.06
Rand Paul $1,100,000.00  $170,822.78^ $10,249,366.63
Jeb Bush $14,900,000.00  $405,537.35^ $24,332,241.84
Carly Fiorina 0.00* $114,412.49^ $6,864,749.34
John Kasich 0.00* $84,084.40^ $5,045,064.24
Mike Huckabee $2,000,000.00* $63,018.74^ $3,781,124.10
Chris Christie 0.00* $100,552.84^ $6,033,170.65
Rick Santorum $3,000.00* $12,714.51^ $762,870.52
George Pataki 0.00* $8,712.00   $524,850.00
Candidates who dropped out during or shortly after the Iowa Caucuses.
Boby Jindal $3,300,000.00* $24,041.06   $1,442,463.52
Scott Walker $1,000,000.00* $30,395.49   $1,823,729.05
Rick Perry $813,878.00* $130,338.18   $7,820,290.68
Lindsey Graham $119,286.00* $84,909.88   $5,094,592.30
Total $ 47,836,164.00   $ 3,924,970.60  $ 191,701,891.89


* Total amount is unknown so 1/37 of total campaign expenditures used.
^ Total amount is unknown so 1/60 of total campaign expenditures used.
  If no astrisk, total amount is accurate according to FEC.
TV Total amount of advertisement is based on NBC News and source http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/total-amount-spent-campaign-ads-iowa-n504506 findings. 

Figures were based on TV ads only.  Data was gathered from the findings of the sources found below.

NBC News


Iowa Campaign Staff Data:

America Blog

NY Times

Iowa Campaign:
After you take out the $65,000,000 spent on TV ads, the rest of the money spent in Iowa equals approximately $7,412,524.03 for about nine months of campaigning from around May 2015 until Febuary 2016. The amount spent on hotels, travel, food, and campaign staff was calculated based on the total amount spent by the top placing candidates up to December 31, 2016 and then divided by 1/37 to produce the estimation of .02/.03 cents per dollar spent in total. The total amount spent by candidates who did not place in the top 3 appears to be about 1/60 of their total campaign budget. Both of these percentages do not include the money spent for TV ads in the state. This is based on several candidates who have posted actual numbers of dollars spent in Iowa.  Campaign spending amounts that were available were verified on the FEC site.  The numbers in this field represent spending by the candidates on transportation, staffing expenses, food, hotel, and other items in Iowa as an estimation only.  Data was based on the sources found below. 

Follow the Money

What are the main Iowa TV stations during the 2016 Iowa Caucus? 


IA TV Station
Call Sign
Name of Station Location in State Owner of Station
WOI ABC Chanel 5  Ames, IA   Capital Communications
KCWI CW Chanel 23  Ames, IA   Pappas Telecasting
KGCW CW   Burlington, IA  Burlington Televison Acquisition
KCRG ABC Chanel 9  Cedar Rapids, IA   Gray Television
KGAN CBS Chanel 2   Cedar Rapids, IA   Sinclair
KFXA  Fox Chanel  28 Cedar Rapids, IA  Second Generation of Iowa
KPXR ION Chanel 48 Cedar Rapids, IA ION Media Networks
KLJB Fox Chanel 18 Davenport, IA Grant Broadcasting
KWQC NBC Chanel 6 Davenport, IA Young Broadcasting
WBQD-LP My TV Chanel 16  Davenport, IA  Venture Technologies Group
KCCI CBS Chanel 8 Des Moines, IA Hearst Television
KDMI This TV Chanel 56  Des Moines, IA  Pappas Telecasting
KDSM Fox Chanel 17 Des Moines, IA Sinclair
WHO NBC Chanel 13 Des Moines, IA Local TV, LLC
KFXB Fox Chanel 28 Dubuque, IA Christian Television Corporation
KWKB CW Chanel 20 Iowa City, IA KM communications
KIMT CBS Chanel 3  Mason City, IA   Media General
KFPX Ion Chanel 39 Newton, IA Ion Media Networks
KCAU ABC Chanel 9 Sioux City, IA Citadel
KMEG CBS Chanel 14 Sioux City, IA Waitt Broadcasting
KPTH   Fox Chanel 44 Sioux City, IA TTBG, LLC
KWWL NBC Chanel 7 Waterloo, IA Raycom
KWWF AMG TV Chanel 22  Waterloo, IA  ??

TV Stations
U.S. Census


How much money was raised up to January 2016 for the presidential election?

The breakdown of contributions from both parties for the 2016 U.S. presidential race, focusing on the top ten candidates according to the Federal Election Commission, are as follows:

1) Hillary Clinton $77,471,603.55
2) Bernie Sanders $41,463,783.81
3) Ben Carson $31,409,508.61
4) Ted Cruz $26,567,298.26
5) Marco Rubio $25,328,081.03
6) Jeb Bush $24,814,729.70
7) Rand Paul $  9,442,030.77
8) Carly Fiorina $  8,496,012.50
9) Donald Trump $  5,828,922.10
10) John Kasich $ 4,388,168.30 

These amounts do not include funds raised for Political Action Committies (PACs). Please review the links below for further information.

U.S. Census

FEC Presidential Reports (Current Election Cycle)

FEC 2012 Year-End Presidental Reports
FEC Summary Reports

University of WI Ad Project
University of Wisconsin

U.S. Census

FEC Presidential Reports (Current Election Cycle)

FEC 2012 Year-End Presidental Reports 
FEC Summary Reports

University of WI Ad Project
University of Wisconsin

Iowa plays a significant role in the nomination of presidential candidates.

The Caucuses are primarily for the Democratic and Republican parties. In the last 40 years, starting in the 1970s when Iowa moved its' Caucus to be the first Caucus in the Nation, Iowa has become a predictor in identifying the top three candidates from both parties.  Only those candidates who finish in the top half of their party typically move on to campaign strong in other states. In fact, in the past, the Iowa Caucuses have become more of a clearing field in determining which candidates will stay in the race and which candidates will throw in the towel. This would appear to be a more accurate depiction of Iowa's role in the presidential campaigns than in determining which candidate will be nominated by their respective party. Iowa does play a big part in allowing candidates a chance to showcase their political prowess to a fairly middle of the road state.
(See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iowa_caucus.) 

Iowa can be a barometer of sorts measuring the nation's state-of-mind because, for the last ten Iowa Caucuses, Iowa has identified the nation's two primary picks for the top runner from both the Democratic and Republican party five times and from just the Democratic party six times.  The importance of Iowa may be more significant to the individual candidates running for president than to their party simply because it is cheaper to campaign in Iowa than in many of the other states entertaining the notion of scheduling their Primaries closer to the Iowa Caucus. A win in an early state that is cheaper to campaign in gives an advantage to those candidates who would normally not have the funds to campaign in a larger state. Larger states will cost the candidates a greater amount of upfront capital to campaign per registered voter. In addition, Iowa's population is clustered into regions within the state, which makes it easier to reach potential audiences. Campaigning in a state like Iowa has advantages over larger states because their media outlets will focus on candidates as though they were celebrities, giving them free press and headline news, whereas other states would continue to cater to local celebrities, athletes, and business leaders, giving them the coverage and headline news, which would overshadow a political campaign candidate.

Iowa and other states of similar size are playing a larger role in close elections because of the electoral college. In 2000, the difference between the winner and loser was only five electoral votes, which means states like Arkansas,  Tennessee, and Iowa can change an election outcome drastically.  
(See http://www.fec.gov/pubrec/fe2000/elecpop.htm.)

The Iowa Caucus is more 'traditional' than other caucuses.  

The Iowa Caucus process starts out months before the actual Caucus with assembly hall type meetings where candidates make scheduled visits to particular places in Iowa communities.  Typically, the meetings take place at local high schools, universities, libraries, town halls, coffee shops, hotel conference centers, and other public buildings.  The smaller venues allow the candidates to interact on a more intimate level while the larger venues allow a wider audience to participate as the candidate is able to move freely amongst the public, shaking hands, answering questions, discussing platform issues, and, hopefully, inspiring fund raisers to assist with campaign donations.  Most of the candidates are able to garner quality time with voters because of the small town atmosphere that permeates each meeting.  Iowans tend to have more traditional values and believe that the process of selecting the most qualified candidate for president of the United States is very serious business and every citizen's duty to their country.  Iowans are hospitable to candidates and enjoy engaging others in discussions on political and social issues, and the environment in Iowa has always been safe and inviting for presidential candidates in the 43 years Iowans have been hosting Caucuses.

FEC General Spending Information

FEC Search Individual Presidential Election Spending 
Open Secrets
New York Times

How do the candidates promote themselves in Iowa?

The candidates who visit Iowa are afforded many opportunities to reach out and speak to Iowa Caucus goers.  One of the overlooked avenues to get the attention of Iowa Caucus goers is by talking to the local news sources. This allows the candidate to communicate their views to a significant amount of individuals in that local community without going door-to-door (See Iowa News). One of the main ways that a candidate can get their message out is via Iowa Public Television and by participating on Iowa Press, which has worked for sitting presidents and candidates who have won the Iowa Caucus in the past.  

Have Iowan's shifted voting habits? 

Looking at the most recent voting trends, it seems as though Iowa voters are losing momentum in the voting booth and have reached the cap of individuals who are willing to vote in the general elections. The total popluation of the state of Iowa is 3,107,126, which is an increase of 60,257 people from 2010. The total number of voters in the 2010 midterms was 1,133,434 individuals compared to 1,142311 Iowans in 2014, which is only 8,877 more individuals. The 1.4% increase is not reflective of the overall population increase of 2.0%, which is what one would expect to see in the voting booth over the same time period. Although, the more alarming statistic is that 447,640 Iowans who voted in the 2012 election did not vote in 2014 - a potentially frightning trend, if it continues. Even as the Iowan popluation slowly grows, the voting interest seems to be waning.  For the past two decades there had been an increase in voter participation.  In 2004, 1,521,966 Iowans voted. That increased by 24,487 voters in 2008, and increased again in the 2012 presidential election by 43,498 voters for a total of 1,589,951. Unfortunately, this increase each election cycle may be losing its' steam; when looking at the congressional election of 2014, which had a total of 1,142,311 Iowan voters, there was a decrease of 410,877 participants who had voted two years earlier. The question is, will the 2016 presidentail election see a decrease in voters, forcing Iowa to fall in line with other states, which have seen a decrease in the interest to vote? At this point in time, it looks that way. 

Iowa Legislature
NPR News

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