On Monday, WHO-TV released the results of their “Cast Your Kernel” straw poll conducted during the Iowa State Fair.

The 2019 overall turnout was the third-highest for Cast Your Kernel. In 2012, 72,216 people voted when Republican Mitt Romney defeated President Barack Obama, a Democrat, 55-45 percent. In 2016, 69,598 people voted when Trump topped Democrat Hillary Clinton 56-44 percent.

Unsurprisingly with 33,280 kernels cast, President Donald Trump overwhelmingly defeated Bill Weld among those who cast their kernel in the Republican primary race 97 percent to three percent.

I think it’s safe to say we will not see an upset in the upcoming Republican vote in the 2020 Iowa Caucus.

The Democratic side saw 33,165 kernels cast. Here are the results:

  1. Joe Biden – 25 percent
  2. Pete Buttigieg – 18 percent
  3. Elizabeth Warren – 15 percent
  4. Kamala Harris – 11 percent
  5. Bernie Sanders – 8 percent
  6. Cory Booker – 4 percent
  7. Tulsi Gabbard – 3 percent
  8. Tom Steyer – 3 percent
  9. Amy Klobuchar – 3 percent
  10. Andrew Yang – 2 percent
  11. Beto O’Rourke – 2 percent
  12. Steve Bullock – 1 percent

I’d go on down the list, but there were 24 candidates, and that really isn’t the big story since it’s not a scientific poll. No, the story is the Republican vs. Democrat participation.

From WHO TV’s press release, they announced, “The total number of kernels for Republican candidates was 33,280. Total votes for Democratic candidates was 33,165. That 50-50 percentage split is the closest ever.”

I saw some opine that this could represent an enthusiasm gap. Which could be the case, but, alternatively, since the fact the Republican race is not competitive fewer desired to participate or even thought to participate. Democrats have a hotly contested race with, during the time period, 24 candidates (down to 22 now). Republicans have two and since one is the incumbent president the results are predictable.

Out of curiosity I reached out to WHO-TV to ask what the Republican numbers were in 2011 and 2015 when Republicans had a hotly contested race.

In 2015, with 17 candidates to choose from after 11 days of voting there were 40,986 kernels cast for Republican candidates. In 2011, with 14 candidates to choose from after 9 days of voting there were 32,051 kernels cast.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say the competitiveness of the race impacted the participation more than any enthusiasm gap did.

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