Trump wins Iowa caucuses, DeSantis edges out Haley for second place: Full coverage

Trump had been the favorite to win while Haley, DeSantis and Ramaswamy vied for second place.

Former President Donald Trump easily won the Iowa caucuses Monday night in his first test at securing his party's presidential nomination in 2024. Less than an hour after the caucuses began, the Associated Press called the race for Trump, who had a commanding lead in Iowa polls for months, so the result did not come as a surprise.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finished in second place, edging out former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and providing him with the rationale to remain in the race at least through next week's primary in New Hampshire. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy finished a distant fourth, and announced he was ending his campaign. While Trump is the clear favorite to win the Republican nomination, a Haley or DeSantis victory in the Granite State still has the chance to upend the contest.

Our live coverage has concluded.

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  • Ramaswamy suspends campaign

    Republican presidential candidate businessman Vivek Ramaswamy speaks at a caucus site at Horizon Events Center, in Clive, Iowa, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    Republican presidential candidate businessman Vivek Ramaswamy speaks at a caucus site at Horizon Events Center, in Clive, Iowa, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

    After turning in a fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, Vivek Ramaswamy announced Monday that he was suspending his presidential campaign.

    "There is no path for me to be the next president," he told supporters.

    Ramaswamy earned nearly eight percent of the vote on Monday.

  • Trump promises dramatic overhaul of U.S. elections

    Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
    Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    During his victory speech on Monday night, Trump repeated his disproven claims that election fraud had cost him victory in the 2020 presidential election and vowed that, if elected in 2024, he would enact sweeping changes to how votes are cast and counted.

    Trump promised to require polling stations to use “paper ballots” rather than computer systems, voter I.D. requirements to cast a vote, and an elimination of all early and mail-in ballots.

    “These elections last 62 days and if you need more time, take as much time as you want and so many bad things happen,” Trump said. “We have to get rid of mail-in ballots because once you have mail-in ballots you have crooked elections.”

    Audits of the 2020 have found that mail-in ballots and early voting did not result in fraud.

  • In victory speech in Iowa, Trump says it is time for country to 'come together'

    Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

    Speaking to his supporters Monday following his victory in the Iowa caucuses, former President Donald Trump delivered an uncharacteristically unifying message to his campaign rivals.

    "I really think this is time now for everybody, our country, to come together, whether it's Republican or Democrat or liberal or conservative, it would be so nice if we could come together and straighten out the world and straighten out all of the problems and the death and destruction that we're witnessing that's practically never been like this," Trump said.

    Trump even went as far as to congratulate rivals Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis on their respective showings Monday.

    "I want to congratulate Ron and Nikki for having a good time together," he continued. "We're all having a good time together and I think they both actually did very well. I do, I think they did very well. We don't even know the outcome of what second place is."

  • DeSantis campaign says early Trump victory calls are 'election interference'

    Ron DeSantis
    Ron DeSantis at a campaign event in Ankeny, Iowa, on Sunday. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

    After television networks and the Associated Press declared Donald Trump the winner of Monday’s Iowa caucuses roughly 30 minutes after they had gotten underway, Ron DeSantis’s campaign accused them of “election interference.”

    "It is absolutely outrageous that the media would participate in election interference by calling the race before tens of thousands of Iowans even had a chance to vote," DeSantis’s communications director Andrew Romeo said. "The media is in the tank for Trump and this is the most egregious example yet."

    Read more at USA Today.

  • What’s a landslide, anyway?

    Here’s what we know right now: Donald Trump has won the Iowa caucuses, and he’s done so handily.

    Here’s what we don’t know: His final margin of victory, and who comes in second place. Both are questions that will be poured over by political observers in the coming days, in large part because "Trump raised expectations in the state so much that he needed a resounding victory to meet them."

    Putting Trump’s victory in perspective

    A landslide is sometimes defined by political strategists as a victory of between 7 to 10 points. Former Nixon speechwriter William Safire, who wrote the “On Language” column for The New York Times as well as the classic “Safire’s Political Dictionary,” defined it as “A resounding victory, one in which the opposition is ‘buried.’”

    Donald Trump
    Donald Trump in Iowa. (Sergio Flores/Reuters)

    Given how quickly the normally cautious Associated Press called the race, Trump is all but certain to cross Safire’s threshold. This might even be the biggest victory in the history of the Iowa caucuses, at least in a competitive year, a record currently held by the late Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, who beat his closest challenger, the evangelical pastor Pat Robertson, by about 13 points in 1988.

    Still, as Yahoo News National Correspondent Jon Ward notes, Trump probably needs to win around 45% of the vote in Iowa to meet expectations. If his total is less than that, his rivals will see an opportunity to upend the race in next week’s primary in New Hampshire, which will be held on Jan. 23. This is particularly true if Nikki Haley, who has been polling well in New Hampshire although still well behind Trump, manages a second place finish in Iowa.

    How does the Associated Press declare a winner?

    Unlike many news outlets, the AP simply declares that a candidate has won an election. It does not hedge, like many networks do, with words like “projected winner.” It simply says a candidate has defeated their rivals.

    This has allowed the AP to avoid the mistakes other news organizations have made, such as in the 2000 presidential race, which some news networks called incorrectly or prematurely.

    This is how the AP puts it:

    “This hallmark of AP's Election Day news report is produced by a dedicated team of election analysts, researchers and race callers who make up our Decision Team. AP does not make projections or name apparent or likely winners.

    If our race callers cannot definitively say a candidate has won, we do not engage in speculation. AP did not call the closely contested race in 2000 between George W. Bush and Al Gore — we stood behind our assessment that the margin in Florida made it too close to say who won.”

  • How Iowans voted in Monday's caucuses

  • 63% of Iowa GOP caucus-goers say they'll vote for Trump even if he is convicted of a crime

    A Trump supporter
    A Trump supporter at a caucus night party in Des Moines. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

    A majority of Republicans who participated in Monday’s Iowa caucuses said that they would vote for former President Donald Trump in 2024 even if he is convicted of a crime.

    The findings come from an entrance poll conducted by Edison Research.

    Trump, who faces 91 felony charges in four different criminal cases, handily won the first Republican contest of the 2024 election.

    Read more from Reuters.

  • Trump won. Now what?

    Donald Trump has won the Iowa caucuses, but the fight continues for second place.

    Nikki Haley is hoping a stronger-than-expected result will give her a needed boost ahead of next week’s primary in New Hampshire, where she has been polling within striking distance of Trump.

    Ron DeSantis, meanwhile, is hoping to revive his campaign and show that he is the only candidate who can defeat Trump. He is polling poorly in New Hampshire, however.

    Ron DeSantis
    Ron DeSantis in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, on Monday. (Christopher Reistroffer/Reuters)

    Here’s what Yahoo News West Coast Correspondent Andrew Romano says in his must-read story on Trump’s victory:

    “For DeSantis, even a narrow loss to Haley would come as a devastating blow. In New Hampshire — which holds its primary next Tuesday, Jan. 23 — the Floridian (who averages 6% in the polls there) trails far behind both Haley (30%) and Trump (43%).

    Demands for DeSantis to drop out and allow anti-Trump Republicans to consolidate around Haley would become deafening if were to finish third in Iowa.

    In contrast, squeaking out a second-place finish would give DeSantis a reason to continue campaigning in New Hampshire and possibly beyond, splitting the party’s anti-Trump vote.”

  • Donald Trump has won the Iowa caucuses

    Former President Donald Trump cruised to victory in the Iowa caucuses Monday night. The result is unsurprising given his massive polling lead in the state, and while his margin of victory appears to be quite significant, full results will not be available for some time as the Iowa GOP counts votes from caucuses across the state.

    For a full explanation of Trump’s victory from Yahoo News West Coast Correspondent Andrew Romano, click here.

    Donald Trump
    Donald Trump at Horizon Event Center in Iowa. Jan. 15. (Sergio Flores/Reuters)

    Will this be enough for Trump to win the nomination?

    Yahoo News’ Jon Ward explains how to read the final results:

    If Trump’s margin of victory is substantially smaller than 50%, it will raise some questions about his support.

    If Trump’s final number is below 45%, it may be interpreted almost as a loss. But again, much of this is subjective and determined by pundits and party leaders.

    If Nikki Haley comes in second, Ron DeSantis will have difficulty continuing his campaign.

    If DeSantis comes in second, he’ll proceed to the New Hampshire primary next week. That scenario might be the best outcome for Trump.

    Because if DeSantis drops out and Haley is the only other serious rival, she is poised to finish close to Trump in New Hampshire, or even beat him.

    The best outcome for Trump is a finish close to or above 50%, and a DeSantis second place finish.

    The worst outcome for Trump is a finish below 45% or even 40%, and a second place finish for Haley.

  • On Tuesday, Trump will likely win the Iowa caucuses. On Wednesday, he'll be back in court.

    E. Jean Carroll
    E. Jean Carroll leaving Manhattan federal court, Oct. 23, 2023. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

    Hours after former President Donald Trump is expected to cruise to victory in the Iowa Republican caucuses, jury selection will begin in New York in the second defamation trial brought against him by columnist E. Jean Carroll.

    In May, a jury found Trump had sexually assaulted Carroll in the mid-1990s in a department store changing room and defamed her by denying that the encounter ever happened. They ordered Trump to pay her $5 million in damages.

    Trump promptly repeated his denials and Carroll filed a second suit against him. That case could cost the former president millions more.

  • How to understand the Iowa caucus results

    There are two outcomes of the Iowa caucuses. First, there’s the vote total: a hard set of numbers showing how many people voted for each candidate. You can follow those results here.

    But because the Iowa result does not decide the nominee, the second outcome is the way the numbers are interpreted. This is a highly subjective variable that shapes the impact of the Iowa caucuses as much as the vote totals do.

    Expectations and momentum are the biggest factors in how the results are interpreted.

    Assuming the polls are correct and Donald Trump wins, the two biggest things to watch are by how much he wins and who comes in second.

    Nikki Haley with potential voter
    Nikki Haley campaigning in Des Moines, Jan. 5, 2024. (Rachel Mummey/Reuters)

    If his margin of victory is substantially smaller than 50%, it will raise some questions about his support.

    If Trump’s final number is below 45%, it may be interpreted almost as a loss. But again, much of this is subjective and determined by pundits and party leaders.

    If Nikki Haley comes in second, that will make it hard for Ron DeSantis to continue his campaign.

    If DeSantis comes in second, he’ll continue to the New Hampshire primary next week. And that might be the best outcome for Trump.

    Because if DeSantis drops out and Haley is the only other serious rival, she is poised to finish close to Trump in New Hampshire, or even beat him.

    The best outcome for Trump is a finish close to or above 50%, and a DeSantis second place finish.

    The worst outcome for Trump is a finish below 45% or even 40%, and a second place finish for Haley.

  • Holding the Iowa caucuses on MLK Jr. Day is a way of honoring the civil rights leader’s legacy, GOP official says

    The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
    The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

    Some Americans have wondered why Iowa’s Republican caucuses had been scheduled this election cycle to fall on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday commemorating the life of the civil rights leader.

    Last year, Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann was asked about that decision.

    “As Republicans, we can, I, we see this as honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King in terms of having a caucus here,” Kaufmann said in July.

    Read more via the Los Angeles Times.

  • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a DeSantis supporter, says she’ll back Trump if he wins

    Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds
    Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds at DeSantis campaign headquarters in Iowa. (Alyssa Pointer/Reuters)

    In the latest sign that many Republicans opposed to Donald Trump's renomination will quickly come around if and when he defeats his remaining rivals, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds — who has drawn Trump's ire for endorsing Ron DeSantis — told Fox News Monday that she would back Trump in November's general election rather than remain neutral or vote for President Biden.

    "I've made it clear that I will [support Trump]," Reynolds told host Neil Cavuto. "I'm a Republican, and all of the candidates running are going to be better than what we have."

    "Even after all the stuff he’s said about you?" Cavuto asked.

    "Yep," Reynolds replied. "Because we've got to win."

    Among the "stuff" that Trump has said about Reynolds: that she is “the worst governor in the country," and that endorsing DeSantis would be “the end of her political career in that MAGA would never support her again."

    Previously, Reynolds said that she was supporting DeSantis because "I believe [Trump] can’t win" in 2024.

    “In 2016 and 2020 I supported President Trump. I endorsed him. I helped him in the state of Iowa. It’s a different day. It’s a different time," Reynolds added. "It’s OK for Iowans to say ‘thank you for what you did’ and move on."

  • When will we know the Iowa results?

    A man walks past a sign
    A view of downtown Des Moines on Saturday. (Andrew Harnik)

    Nobody likes staying up all night to find out election results — including political reporters like us.

    So when will we know who won tonight's GOP caucuses in Iowa?

    The good news: probably much sooner than we knew who won Iowa's 2020 Democratic contest. That year, the whole system broke down and delayed the final tally for days.

    "We have done everything humanly possible to ensure that this caucus comes off without a hitch," Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann said Monday.

    According to the Des Moines Register, that means "volunteer precinct chairs at the state's 1,657 precincts will enter their results via an online system that requires them to enter the numbers twice to ensure they are correct. Then, state party staff will manually approve each precinct's results, posting them to the Iowa GOP's website, [which] will update as results come in from around the state on caucus night."

    If the past is any guide — and it should be, because Republicans simply cast their votes once rather than clustering multiple times in different corners of the room like Democrats — the earliest returns from small caucus sites should start appearing online around 8:30 p.m. EST (just half an hour after the caucuses get underway).

    The last batches should trickle in before 1:00 a.m. EST; in 2016, they appeared at 12:50 a.m. EST.

    Of course, Donald Trump's large polling lead suggests that the Associated Press and other outlets are likely to call the contest in his favor much earlier. The second- and third-place calls could take until after midnight, depending on how closely Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley are competing for runner-up.

  • The one number that should worry Haley — and comfort DeSantis

    Ron DeSantis in Iowa
    Ron DeSantis outside his campaign office in Urbandale, Iowa, on Friday. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

    As Woody Allen once said, "80% of success is showing up." That's never more true than on Election Day — or in this case, on Caucus Night. If your supporters don't turn out, you can't win.

    Which is why Nikki Haley should be worried about one particular data point from the final pre-caucus survey conducted by famed Iowa pollster J. Ann Selzer for the Des Moines Register, NBC News and Mediacom.

    According Selzer's poll, just 51% of Haley's supporters say they will "definitely attend" tonight's caucuses. For DeSantis — the candidate she's battling for second place — that number is more than 10 points higher (62%).

    In terms of overall support, Selzer's poll also showed Haley (20%) surpassing DeSantis (16%) for the first time. But caucuses aren't like normal elections. Iowans have to gather in person and listen to candidate representatives deliver sometimes lengthy speeches before casting their votes; they can't just pull a lever or drop a ballot in a box and go home.

    So on a night when the local wind chill could push temps as low as minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit, any commitment gap could make an outsized difference — and DeSantis is likely to benefit.

  • Why hasn't Chris Christie endorsed Nikki Haley?

    Chris Christie and Nikki Haley
    Chris Christie and Nikki Haley at the GOP primary debate in Tuscaloosa, Ala., last month. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

    Let's say you're Chris Christie. And you've run an entire campaign for president on the premise that Donald Trump should never be president again. Let's say you mean it when you say that.

    (Because why else would you say it? Not much upside for you if he wins.)

    And let's say you want to drop out at a moment when it will have maximum impact to help the Republican candidate who has the best shot of beating Donald Trump in New Hampshire next week: Nikki Haley.

    Well, you'd drop out last Wednesday. And that’s what Christie did.

    Here’s why that timing might be an attempt to help Haley, and why not endorsing Haley might also be intended by Christie to help her.

    Haley has been steadily gaining momentum in New Hampshire since mid-September, when polling showed her in the single digits there. She's now at around 30% in the polling average. Trump's lead over Haley in New Hampshire has gone from 32 points in mid-November to 14 points now.

    And how many points did Chris Christie put on the table for the taking? About a dozen.

    Nikki Haley speaks at a campaign event in Adel, Iowa
    Haley speaks at a campaign event in Adel, Iowa, on Sunday. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    So Christie dropping out puts a tie with Trump in New Hampshire within Haley's grasp. If Haley were to beat Trump in New Hampshire or even come close, it would mean that we have a serious competition for the nomination on our hands.

    Since polling has indicated that most of Christie’s support in New Hampshire will go to Haley whether he endorses her or not, explicit support would do little for that number of voters.

    Haley needs voters who are leaning toward DeSantis to vote for her, as well as some who are leaning toward Trump.

    So if you’re Christie, would you endorse Haley if you wanted Trump-sympathetic Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire to vote for her?

    Probably not. Because Christie ran an anti-Trump campaign, his endorsement of Haley would be apt to hinder her ability to attract more voters beyond the ones who supported Christie.

  • It's officially the coldest caucus day ever

    The National Weather Service has confirmed that Monday's Iowa caucuses are, in fact, the coldest on record.

  • DeSantis campaign says it has enough money to sustain bid into March

    Ron DeSantis has enough cash to sustain his presidential bid through Super Tuesday in March, one of his finance chairs said Monday.

    “If we have the success I think we can have in Iowa and exceed expectations, I think fundraising will really be robust,” Roy Bailey said at a Bloomberg News roundtable in Des Moines. “We have plenty of fuel in the tank to get the job done to get into Super Tuesday.”

    Super Tuesday is March 5, when 15 states will hold GOP primaries.

    “Most people invest in a pathway to win,” Bailey added. “And so I have to be honest with you, it would be tough if we don’t have a really good night.”

  • This year's GOP caucuses are the most expensive ever. Here's why.

    Nikki Haley
    Nikki Haley campaigning at Drake Diner in Des Moines on Monday. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

    This year's GOP caucuses in Iowa might not be the most suspenseful ever. (Former President Donald Trump is the overwhelming favorite to win.)

    But somehow, they've still become the most expensive.

    Reporting from CNN and Politico shows that the campaigns and their allied super-PACs have pummeled the Hawkeye State with more than $123 million in advertising since the start of 2023.

    Last presidential election cycle, the corresponding figure was in the $80 million range.

    Why the surge of cash in a contest where Trump holds such a commanding lead?

    In large part it's because Nikki Haley — who has been lately climbing in the polls — hopes to land a knockout punch on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis by beating him for second place.

    Both the Haley and DeSantis networks have spent more than $30 million overall. But Haley's has spent significantly more — $7.8 million to DeSantis's $6.1 million — over the last two weeks, according to CNN.

  • What are Iowa Democrats doing during the caucuses?

    The Iowa Democratic Party office
    The Iowa Democratic Party office in Des Moines. (Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images)

    The short answer: Not much.

    Since 1972, Iowa Democrats — like their Republican counterparts — have held a privileged position in choosing their party’s nominee. In fact, it had a better record of picking nominees than the GOP caucuses: Hillary Clinton (in 2016), Barack Obama (in 2008), John Kerry (in 2004) and Al Gore (in 2000) all won Iowa before capturing their party’s nod later in the year.

    But Iowa, which is about 83% white, is significantly less diverse than the Democratic electorate nationally and the country as a whole. It’s also a lot more conservative and Republican than it used to be, making it an awkward choice for the first Democratic presidential contest.

    Finally, the last Democratic Iowa caucuses, in 2020, were a disaster. The party was unable to figure out the winner for more than a week, causing confusion among voters and anger among national party officials. This led to Iowa being demoted on the primary calendar last February.

    So Iowa Democrats will caucus on Monday night, but they will not be weighing in on who the nominee will be.

    President Biden
    President Biden arriving at Andrews Air Force Base on Monday. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

    “During a Friday news conference, Iowa Democratic Party Chair Rita Hart said she hopes Monday will be a catalyst for enthusiasm,” the Des Moines Register reports. “The party will still host caucuses around the state that night. Democrats will elect delegates and central committee members. They also will choose a party platform.”

    Despite the bitter cold, Hart said she hoped and expected the party faithful to turn out.

    So while Iowa Democrats will be getting together tonight and deciding some matters, they’ll be voting by mail this year and their selection won’t be announced until March 5 — otherwise known as Super Tuesday, the busiest day of the primary calendar, when 15 states hold nominating contests.

    Iowa Democrats have until Feb. 19 to request a “presidential preference card” and vote for their nominee by mail. The candidates on the Democratic ballot are President Biden, author Marianne Williamson and Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips.

  • Which candidate would be strongest against Biden?

    Haley speaks to reporters in Waukee, Iowa, last week.
    Haley speaks to reporters in Waukee, Iowa, last week. (Melina Mara/Washington Post via Getty Images)

    Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis have both made the case that they would do better against President Joe Biden in November’s general election than Donald Trump. Haley, in particular, argued at last week’s Republican debate that she was the person best suited to retake the White House for the GOP.

    A new CBS News/YouGov poll lends some credence to Haley’s case, finding that she leads Biden in a head-to-head contest, 53% to 45%, among likely voters. But the same poll also found that DeSantis and Trump are also beating Biden in a hypothetical matchup, with the Florida governor leading Biden 48% to 51%, and Trump squeaking to a 48% to 50% victory.

    “Here's why Haley has such a lead over Biden: She draws more moderates and independents and more voters with college degrees than Trump does against Biden,” the network explains. “She also peels off more 2020 Biden supporters than either Trump or DeSantis does, and erases Mr. Biden's edge with women.”

    But about those polls …

    It should be noted that polls can’t really predict what’s going to happen this far out from the general election. There are way too many variables and unknowns, including the fact that DeSantis and Haley are far less well known to the broader electorate than Trump or Biden, and the potential effects of third-party candidates like Robert Kennedy Jr.

    Still, it’s a warning to Democrats that the November election is likely to be very close — regardless of who wins the GOP nomination.

  • Trump falsely claims he won the Iowa caucuses twice

    Speaking to reporters as he departed Hotel Fort Des Moines on Monday afternoon, former President Donald Trump falsely claimed he won the Iowa caucuses twice before.

    "We've won it twice as you know," Trump said.

    While he did win the caucuses in 2020, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz narrowly defeated him in 2016.

    “I think we’re going to have a tremendous night tonight," the former president added. "The people are fantastic and I’ve never seen spirit like they have, countrywide, but in Iowa, I've never seen spirit like they have."

  • How will the cold weather affect turnout?

    A tractor trailer is stuck in the snow along Interstate 80 near Williamsburg, Iowa, on Sunday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
    A tractor trailer is stuck in the snow along Interstate 80 near Williamsburg, Iowa, on Sunday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    Over at the Dispatch, former Fox News political director Chris Stirewalt wonders how Iowa’s deep freeze could affect the results.

    “I’ve been coming here for 12 years, and have seen plenty of bad weather, canceled flights, and snow, but I’ve never seen this,” Stirewalt writes.

    He also reports that due to a number of factors — such as Trump’s massive lead and the lack of a contest on the Democratic side this year — turnout will likely be low, especially when you factor in the weather.

    “I’ve been convening focus groups and chatting up folks in and out of politics out here since the summer, and Republicans are, to a degree I’ve never seen, underwhelmed with the whole thing,” he writes. “In 2016, the weather was good, the race was hot, and Democrats were cooking, too. Iowa Republicans were abuzz. Now, not so much.”

    So what does that mean for tonight’s results — and the race for the Republican presidential nomination more broadly?

    “If Trump’s MAGA loyalists pull on their snow boots and stomp to the caucuses here, it’s a good bet that he can meet expectations elsewhere. If Trump roughly matches his 32-point lead in the last [Des Moines Register] poll in these conditions, he’s steaming straight to the nomination,” Stirewalt says. “But if it’s half that or less, things get interesting. And if second place goes to Haley — who is surging in New Hampshire, which votes just eight days later — we might just have a real race on our hands.”

  • Ramaswamy's close friend endorses Trump

    Ramaswamy, pictured from the shoulder up in front of a brick wall, at a campaign stop in Ames, Iowa.
    Vivek Ramaswamy at a campaign stop in Ames, Iowa, on Sunday. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

    Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted — one of Vivek Ramaswamy's close friends — has endorsed Donald Trump for president.

    "We need strong leadership to get America back on track," Husted wrote Monday in a post on X. "That's why I'm endorsing Donald Trump."

    That he chose to do so on the morning of the Iowa caucuses is notable. Ohio's primary is two months away, and Ramaswamy is hoping for a good showing in tonight's contest.

    As NBC News notes, Husted had encouraged Ramaswamy to bypass a U.S. Senate race in Ohio and run for the GOP presidential nomination instead.

  • Former President Donald Trump eats pizza with firefighters at the Waukee Fire Department in Waukee, Iowa.
    Donald Trump eats pizza with firefighters in Waukee, Iowa, on Sunday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
  • Meet the candidates: Vivek Ramaswamy

    Vivek Ramaswamy
    Vivek Ramaswamy at an event in Des Moines on Jan. 10. (Abbie Parr/AP)

    Occupation: Entrepreneur

    Age: 38

    What’s at stake: Ramaswamy, a once-obscure businessman who has run as the most pro-Trump GOP candidate not named Donald Trump, is polling in the single digits in Iowa and did not qualify for the most recent GOP debate. For most political observers, the big question is whether he'll wind up denting Trump’s Iowa performance.

    As Bloomberg News reports, this dynamic is not lost on Trump himself. “Vivek started his campaign as a great supporter,” Trump recently said on Truth Social, his social media platform. “Unfortunately, now all he does is disguise his support in the form of deceitful campaign tricks. Very sly, but a vote for Vivek is a vote for the ‘other side’ — don’t get duped by this.”

    And the rest

    Beyond Ramaswamy, there are a handful of obscure candidates still running in the Iowa caucuses, most notably former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a traditional conservative who failed to gain traction among GOP voters. Texas pastor Ryan Binkley is also in the .

    According to the final Iowa poll, both Hutchinson and Binkley are at 1% support in the state.

  • Meet the candidates: Ron DeSantis

    Ron DeSantis, in profile, speaks at a campaign event in Ankeny, Iowa.
    Ron DeSantis at a campaign event in Ankeny, Iowa, on Sunday. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

    Occupation: Governor of Florida

    Age: 45

    What’s at stake: DeSantis has bet the future of his candidacy on a strong Iowa showing. Over the past few months, he has toured all of Iowa’s 99 counties and won coveted endorsements, including that of evangelical leader Bob Vaander Plaats and Gov. Kim Reynolds, the Des Moines Register notes.

    But DeSantis has seen his once-formidable polling numbers slip for months and is now trailing Nikki Haley in Iowa. If he exceeds expectations and blows past Haley tonight, he could re-cement himself as Donald Trump’s main rival for the nomination. But given his anemic polling in New Hampshire, he may not have the same cushion as Haley. And while he says he’ll stay in the race regardless of tonight’s results, he’ll need to do well to show Republican voters that he still has a chance at the nomination.

  • Meet the candidates: Nikki Haley

    Nikki Haley appears at a campaign event in Ames, Iowa, surrounded by supporters.
    Nikki Haley appears at a campaign event in Ames, Iowa, on Sunday. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

    Occupation: Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and ex-South Carolina governor

    Age: 51

    What’s at stake: Haley, as the Des Moines Register notes, “has shown more upward momentum since the start of the caucus cycle than any other candidate.” So while it would take a near miracle for her to win the caucuses, an unexpectedly strong showing could give her a needed boost heading into next week’s New Hampshire primary, where she’s polling better than in Iowa (although still well behind Trump) and her fundamentals are stronger.

    A strong Haley performance could also — in theory at least — effectively knock Ron DeSantis out of the race, allowing her to consolidate the Republican voters who are skeptical of Donald Trump and giving her a much better chance of ultimately winning the nomination.

  • Meet the candidates: Donald Trump

    Donald Trump, in white cap saying Trump Caucus Caption, delivers pizzas to a fire department in Waukee, Iowa, on Sunday.
    Donald Trump delivers pizzas to a fire department in Waukee, Iowa, on Sunday. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

    Occupation: Former president

    Age: 77

    What’s at stake: Trump has been the runaway frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination both in Iowa and nationwide for months. He’s hoping to score a knockout blow in Iowa today, diminishing any momentum Nikki Haley has as the race heads to the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 23.

    Trump narrowly lost the caucuses in 2016 to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, but this time around he’s hoping not only to win but to score the biggest victory in Iowa history. No candidate has ever won more than 50% of the vote in the Iowa caucuses, although polls indicate that Trump could very well do so tonight. “Let’s see if we can get to 50%,” he told supporters in Des Moines on Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

  • Gen Z Republicans are gearing up for the caucuses. Here are their biggest concerns.

    People listen as Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign stop at Jethro's BBQ in Ames, Iowa, on Sunday. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
    People listen as Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign stop at Jethro's BBQ in Ames, Iowa, on Sunday. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    Yahoo News' Kelsey Weekman spoke with several young Iowa Republicans about which issues are most important to them heading into Monday's caucuses:

    Jasmyn Jordan, a 20-year-old student at the University of Iowa, was recently appointed as national chairwoman for Young America’s Foundation, a conservative activism organization. She told Yahoo News that she’s hopeful a new president will be elected in November.

    “I am very hopeful about election season … the Biden administration has put the country in the worst position it’s ever been in,” Jordan said. She said her ideal president would reduce the size of the government, push for the celebration of the greatness of American history in schools, address the mental health crisis affecting the country and close the southern border. She plans to caucus for Donald Trump.

    Jordan said her biggest concern is a lack of free speech on college campuses — she even testified before the House Judiciary Committee in November 2023 about those worries. Jordan told Yahoo News that she has been doxed twice — meaning her private information was posted online — for her involvement with Iowa Young America’s Foundation, and she listed multiple times when members' property was vandalized and people protested the group's events.

    Mary Weston, the 23-year-old chair of the Iowa Young Republicans, also told Yahoo News that freedom of speech is a “pressing issue” for her — especially on “very liberal” college campuses. Also a graduate of the University of Iowa, Weston said that as a Republican, she didn’t feel like she had the same right to speak her mind as people “on the left.”

    “These candidates all definitely defend freedom of speech and want to make sure Republicans have that right,” she said. Weston said that most of the members of the Iowa Young Republicans supported Trump, Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley, according to an informal poll conducted in the organization's group chat.

    Read more about the issues that are driving young voters here.

  • Polls show Trump with commanding lead, Haley distant 2nd

    Trump, in a white cap, points to supporters at a campaign event in Indianola, Iowa, on Sunday.
    Donald Trump at a campaign event in Indianola, Iowa, on Sunday. (Jabin Botsford/the Washington Post via Getty Images)

    The last big poll before caucusing starts, the famed Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa survey conducted by J. Ann Selzer, has some good news for Nikki Haley: She’s at 20% support in the Hawkeye State, giving her a slight edge over Ron DeSantis, who has all but bet the farm on a solid Iowa showing yet currently sits at 16%, enough for third place.

    Donald Trump, at 48%, still remains the runaway favorite to win tonight’s caucuses, although that’s a slight dip from the 51% he had last month. And Selzer warns that the poll may overstate Haley’s support, despite her evident momentum. “The deep data on [Haley] suggest she looks stronger in the poll than she could on caucus night,” she told the Register.

    This is because, as we head into one of the coldest Iowa caucuses on record, Trump’s supporters report a lot more enthusiasm for their candidate that Haley’s do for theirs. The number of Trump supporters who say they are “extremely enthusiastic” about caucusing for the former president is at 49%, while 39% say they are “very enthusiastic.”

    As for Haley, only 9% say they are extremely enthusiastic about caucusing for her, and another 30% say they are very enthusiastic. Meanwhile, 49% say they are “only mildly enthusiastic” about supporting her, while 12% report feeling “not that enthusiastic.”

    Selzer said the lack of enthusiasm for Haley is “on the edge of jaw-dropping … That 61% are just mildly enthusiastic or not that enthusiastic — it just seems at odds with a candidate moving up.”

  • What is a caucus and how is it different from a primary?

    A man walks across a snowy street below a sign for the Iowa Caucuses in downtown Des Moines on Saturday.
    A sign for the Iowa Caucuses in downtown Des Moines on Saturday. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

    Yahoo News’ Kate Murphy explains:

    Political caucuses are meetings held across a given state for registered voters to show their support for a specific candidate. In Iowa, it’s the first step in selecting people to serve as delegates at the national conventions for Republicans and Democrats this summer. So, technically, caucus-goers aren’t voting for candidates; they’re voting for the delegates who will support a specific candidate on behalf of the state.

    A caucus is different from a primary in that it is overseen by political parties rather than the state government. The voting methods and time allotted for voting in a caucus is also different from that of traditional primaries.

    In a primary, voters can show up to cast their ballot at any time on Election Day, starting when the polls open in the morning until they close that night. If a voter cannot make it to the polls on Election Day, they can cast an absentee ballot or participate in early voting, depending on the state.

    The Iowa caucuses, meanwhile, begin at a specific time in the evening and require in-person participation in most instances, with exceptions for a handful of overseas and military voters.

    Read more about how the voting will work in Iowa here.

  • Trump jokes that his supporters should risk dying to vote even if they’re ‘sick as a dog’

    Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Indianola, Iowa, on Sunday.
    Donald Trump at a campaign event in Indianola, Iowa, on Sunday. (Jabin Botsford/the Washington Post via Getty Images)

    On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, former President Donald Trump urged his supporters to brave the dangerously cold temperatures forecast for Monday night and caucus for him — even if it's the last thing they ever do.

    "If you want to save America from crooked Joe Biden, you must go caucus tomorrow. First step, very first step," Trump said in Indianola, Iowa, on Sunday night. "You can't sit home. If you're sick as a dog, you say: 'God, I gotta make it.' Even if you vote and then pass away, it's worth it."

    The crowd laughed as Trump imitated a woman urging her sick husband to vote.

    "If you're sick, if you're just so sick, you can't, 'Darling, I don't think I can,'" the former president said to laughter. "'Get up. Get up. You get up, you're gonna vote.'"

    "'Yes, darling,' because ultimately, we know who calls the shots, right?" he added.

  • Just how cold is it?

    Blizzard conditions, as seen here at a farm, in Iowa over the weekend were followed by an arctic blast that has sent temperatures plunging across the state.
    Blizzard conditions in Iowa over the weekend were followed by an arctic blast that has sent temperatures plunging across the state. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

    Very. According to Accuweather, the temperature in Des Moines right now is minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit. When the caucusing begins at 7 p.m., it’s expected to be minus 10, with wind chills as low as 30 degrees below zero, making it one of the coldest — if not the coldest — caucus nights ever.

    There’s a wind chill warning in effect for the entire state through at least Tuesday morning.

    “The dangerously cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes,” the National Weather Service warns. “Avoid outside activities if possible. When outside, make sure you wear appropriate clothing, a hat and gloves.”

  • Welcome to our live caucus coverage

    Snow piles up outside former President Donald Trump's campaign headquarters in Urbandale, Iowa, on Saturday. (Photo by Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)
    Outside former President Donald Trump's campaign headquarters in Urbandale, Iowa, on Saturday. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

    Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the 2024 Iowa caucuses. The last time voters in the Hawkeye State gathered to pick a presidential candidate was in 2020, which feels like an eternity ago. Since then, we’ve had a global pandemic, an insurrection and a former president — who’s on the ballot tonight — criminally charged.

    And the time before that, in 2016, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won the last competitive Republican caucuses.

    We’ll be providing updates and analysis throughout the day before the caucusing begins at 7 p.m. local time, 8 p.m. ET, and throughout the night as the results come in.

    Glad you’re joining us.