Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Burlington, Iowa. (Photo credit: Dave Davidson - Prezography.com)
Trump takes the lead with a high turn-out model in the latest poll.
Photo credit: Dave Davidson (Prezography.com)

The last Des Moines Register poll before the Iowa Caucus on Monday shows these results:

1. Donald Trump – 28%
2. Ted Cruz – 23%
3. Marco Rubio – 15%
4. Ben Carson – 10%
5. Rand Paul – 5%
6. Chris Christie – 3%
7. (Tie) Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich and Rick Santorum – 2%
12. Jim Gilmore – 0%

The poll was taken January 26-29. The margin of error is +/- 4%. This poll has some severe problems that makes it questionable in my mind.

The projected turnout is way too high.

According to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office there are 1,930,597 active voters in the state of Iowa. Ann Seltzer & Co who conducted the poll for the Des Moines Register randomly contacted 3,019 voters which is a pool that represents all of the active voters in Iowa. The poll for the Republican caucus is based on 602 registered voters who said they were likely going to caucus in the Republican caucus on Monday.

Responses were adjusted by age, sex, and congressional district to reflect all active voters in the voter registration list.

So basically they are saying 19.9% of all active voters in Iowa will participate in the Iowa Caucus. This would be 384,188 people.

The current record turnout for a Republican caucus is 121,503. This is over 3 times the amount of people who caucused in 2012.  This is considerably more than the record breaking 2008 Democratic Caucus which saw 239,872 people come out to caucus that sent then U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) on to win his party’s nomination and then the presidency.

Right now there are 612,112 registered Republicans in Iowa. What the Des Moines Register is predicting is a 62% turn out rate. Now if the 3,019 voters represented active Republican voters then we’d have a 19.9% of active Republican voters which would be normal. The turn out rate in 2008 was 20.69% and in 2012 it was 19.76%. So a 19.9% would be looking at 121,810 which would be slightly more than in 2012.

In the 2014 Republican primary which was hotly contested Republicans saw a 26.86% turnout rate. There were 605,453 registered Republicans and 162,633 Republicans voted. Voters could vote all day on primary day. They could vote absentee. They could vote at satellite locations.  That isn’t the case with a caucus.

We also have not seen a registration spike. We have 11,353 less registered Republican voters compared to this time last year. We have not seen a huge influx in the month of January leading up to the Caucuses of people changing parties. The Iowa Secretary of State reported just 2,205 “No Party” (independents) changed their registration to Republican and only 924 Democrats did so.

This is simply unrealistic.

How many evangelicals again?

Only 33% of those polled considered themselves evangelical. In 2012 exit polling showed 57% of those who caucused were evangelical. In 2008 that number was 60%.  Could there be a decline in the percentage of evangelicals if there is a surge of voters? Sure, but we simply don’t know and 33% is pretty low.

How many newbies?

In 2008 exit polling showed that 43% of those who participated in the Democrat caucus were first-time caucus goers. The Des Moines Register shows that 40% of Republicans polled are first-time caucus goers and only 46% were veterans.

This number for newbies kept going up as well each time they conducted the poll:

first-time-caucus-goers

What? Exit polling in 2012 showed that 38% were first-time caucus participants with 60% being veterans.

Don’t be surprised if the actual Iowa Caucus results majorly deviate from this poll.

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