Ready or not, Iowa caucus day is here
Caucus day in Iowa is finally here, and the advance polling shows frontrunners and challengers running neck and neck. For politics wonks and media organizations, this is good news — there is nothing juicier than a tight electoral race.
According to the DesMoines Register, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump is polling at 28 percent, with his closest GOP challenger, Ted Cruz, at 23 percent. On the Democratic side, frontrunner Hillary Clinton is polling at 45 percent, with Bernie Sanders polling at 42 percent. Both differences fall within the margin of error for the poll.
The news site FiveThirtyEight, meanwhile, is forecasting that Trump has a 45 percent chance of winning to Cruz's 40 percent. Marco Rubio has a 14 percent chance and Ben Carson a 1 percent chance, according to the site. No one else in the GOP field even ranks. (The site's forecasts are based on weighted polling averages.) On the Democratic side FiveThirtyEight's forecast is much less even. Clinton has a 72 percent chance of winning, the site forecasts; Sanders has a 28 percent chance; and O'Malley only 1 percent.
Often in a situation like the Democratic one — with O'Malley trailing so greatly in the polls — the candidate running third can become a "kingmaker" of sorts at the caucus, sending his supporters over to make the challenger stronger, or guarantee the frontrunner an unassailable lead. But O'Malley has told Politico he has no interest in doing so.
Here's a handy video explaining the caucus process (with Legos, no less):
This story will be updated throughout the day.