The Iowa Republican caucuses, the first statewide poll for the presidential nomination, will occur Tuesday.
This is when Iowans will cast secret ballots in 809 locations across the state for the person they think should be the Republican nominee for president.
In 2008, Mike Huckabee won the Republican caucus in Iowa; President Obama won the Democrat’s caucus.
The latest Des Moines Register Iowa Poll, published Dec. 31, put Mitt Romney as first choice for 24 percent of participants, closely behind Ron Paul at 22 percent, and Rick Santorum at 15 percent.
Iowa has been a spotlight for its caucuses since the early 1970s, when the polls helped some Democrats, such as George McGovern in 1972 and Jimmy Carter in 1976, in their campaigns for the nation’s highest office, according to former Des Moines Register political columnist David Yepsen, who is now the director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University.
It has been an ongoing debate whether Iowa has too much influence over presidential elections.
This year, an Atlantic essay by University of Iowa journalism professor Stephen Bloom on Iowa said it was a place with few minorities and big cities that was “not representative of much." It triggered critical responses from the University of Iowa president, Bloom's and many others.
In a recent Washington Post essay, Yepsen said it was a myth that Iowa voters don’t represent the nation, writing that “in November 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008, the Iowa popular vote closely tracked national preferences.”
Who do you think will win the Iowa caucus? Do you think Iowa has too much influence in presidential elections? Vote in our poll and comment below.