DES MOINES (Stringr) - With roughly three months to go until the first caucus in the U.S. for the 2020 presidential election, all eyes are on Iowa.
In the past eleven election cycles, the Hawkeye state has predicted seven Democratic nominees—most recently in 2008 and 2016.
The Republican Party’s Iowa caucuses have been less predictable, with only three winners going on to win the nomination.
Candidates spend a lot of time and resources in Iowa, shaking hands, kissing babies and grilling meat.
That’s because it can create a domino effect for the rest of the primary season, in a positive or negative way.
“If Biden doesn’t do well in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, I don’t think South Carolina will save him,” said Dr. Robert Shrum of the University of Southern California.
That said, Iowa alone is not the key to the nomination.
Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush did not win the state’s caucus.
Political observers add that the early states that follow Iowa can be equally important.
“It is better to win it than not to win it,” said Dr. Ross Baker of Rutgers University. “But, to finish strongly, but not at the very top is usually sufficient to get you that highly prized ticket to New Hampshire.”
With 18 Democrats still in the race, Iowa will be critically important for narrowing down the field.
“You’ll get probably, five or six people left after Iowa,” said Matt Littman, a Democratic strategist.