Live Thread: All-Day Iowa Caucus Updates

I will keep this post updated throughout the day with any breaking Iowa caucus news. I will make a new post later of the official Iowa results as they come streaming in, maybe sometime around 9pm eastern if we’re lucky but probably anytime between then and midnight.

As a note, the Democratic caucus begins at 6:30pm central, the Republicans at 7pm central.

Yesterday I issued a couple Iowa predictions so let me reiterate them. I’m giving Obama the advantage at this point, mainly because I think a lot of the low-tier candidate supporters will make Obama their second choice, giving him the edge over Hillary.

For Republicans, Huckabee seems to be winning in the polls but Romney still has a far superior ground organization. In terms of polls, Huckabee has the edge but Romney’s organization may outdo Huckabee’s support.

Here’s a story from Breitbart:

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Presidential hopefuls hedged their bets heading into the Iowa caucuses, declaring Thursday that “anything is possible,” “it’s too close to call” and all now depends on getting the people who’ve been cheering their words to come out to vote and arm-twist neighbors to do the same.

Republican Mitt Romney ramped back expectations, at least for public consumption, saying he’d settle for second in the opening contest of the 2008 election season—as well as in the New Hampshire primary only five days after Iowa. The one-time leader in Iowa polls was fighting Mike Huckabee for a win in Iowa on Thursday night.

Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, in an equally unpredictable three-way race and a historic run to become the first female president, said: “I feel good, but it depends on who comes out, who decides to actually put on their coats, warm up their cars and go to the caucuses.”

Caucuses begin at 7 p.m.—8 p.m. EST—and with that evening curtain- raiser, most candidates filled their Thursday calendar with still more speeches and events.

Nobody knows, that’s the best part and we’ll find out tonight.

Second, here’s a video from the AP sizing up the candidates for tonight’s battle.

That’s pretty much how it’s going down tonight, it’s all going to depend on voter turnout since Obama’s counting on college kids and Huckabee needs his supporters to actually get out and vote on their own.

Live updates will start here throughout the day… stay tuned..

Update @ 1:12pm

A story from Iowa Independent has it that Richardson may instruct his supporters to make Obama their second choice:

Gov. Bill Richardson’s campaign is expected to direct their supporters to caucus for Sen. Barack Obama in the second round of voting at Thursday’s caucuses in precincts where he is not viable. Two sources familiar with the plan told Iowa Independent that the New Mexico Governor’s organizers have been instructed to direct supporters to Obama in the places where they fail to reach the 15% threshold for viability.

Richardson would prefer an Obama victory over Clinton because a Clinton victory could end the campaign before New Hampshire voters even head to the polls. And if Edwards’s numbers look weak, Richardson could head to New Hampshire as the best alternative to the top two contenders for the Democratic nomination.

Bad news for Clinton, good news for Obama who will probably be able to topple her if more voters keep leaning toward him as their second choice. Kucinich instructed his supporters to go for Obama as well and has reiterated that a few times.

Update @ 2:15pm

Here’s a video from ABC News on the final push to Iowa voters by both parties:

I can’t imagine the schedules they all maintain, it’s insane. McCain’s actually making a late-day push in Iowa hoping to secure a strong 3rd place which will put him in a better position going into New Hampshire.

A story on McCain’s last-minute Iowa surge from CBS News:

URBANDALE, IA – John McCain was running late, but the Iowans who had assembled at the Arizona senator’s campaign headquarters here last night seemed happy with the warm up act: A media scrum including Tim Russert, George Stephanopoulos, Tucker Carlson, and Brian Williams, many of whom signed autographs in the cramped, hot room until McCain arrived.

“The last McCain event I came to there were 25 people,” a reporter said as he was being jostled to make room for more people, more media, more cameras. The too-small space suggested a last minute decision to come to Iowa from New Hampshire, one that might be explained by the fact that McCain is now sitting at a surprising (though distant) third in many Iowa polls.

When McCain did finally arrive, he was introduced by Senators Sam Brownback, John Thune and Lindsey Graham, the last of whom, this reporter noted for the first time, bears something of a resemblance to comedian Ricky Gervais. (The impression was only enhanced by Graham’s occasional eye rolling and joke telling: Standing in the sweltering room, he quipped that he might have changed his position on global warming.) Brownback, meanwhile, told the crowd that McCain would appoint “strict constructionist” judges to the bench.

McCain’s also doing well nationally according to a new poll. All of this can’t sit too well with the Thompson campaign which needs 3rd place in Iowa to continue on.

Update @ 3:24pm

Here’s a small update on Ron Paul’s efforts today from chron.com:

DES MOINES, IOWA — He’s polling in the single digits and the pundits have written him off, but a defiant Ron Paul told more than 200 supporters here Wednesday he plans to confound the doubters.

“I have no idea what’s going to happen,” the Lake Jackson Republican said. “But I think we are going to do well, probably better than expected.”

At several stops in Iowa the day before today’s pivotal caucuses, the Texas congressman expressed wonderment at how far his campaign has come in the past year — from an off-beat notion to a fully staffed, well-funded political machine.

The biggest news for Ron Paul will be beating Giuliani and possibly nearing McCain and Thompson for 4th place. It will be interesting to see how things turn out. I’m predicting he won’t finish last but he’ll probably be a solid 5th place, as the polls are predicting.

Update @ 4pm

Here’s a clip with the latest from the ground in Iowa with Shepard Smith:

Yes, Edwards could win but then, I don’t think the planets are quite aligning that way despite this next piece of news:

A new poll released today shows Obama and Edwards both beating Clinton, the story from Reuters:

DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) – Voters in Iowa begin the process of choosing the next U.S. president on Thursday with two close nominating races, as a new poll showed Barack Obama leading John Edwards among Democrats — with Hillary Clinton falling to a potentially damaging third.

The final Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby tracking poll showed Obama, running to become the country’s first black president, holding a statistically insignificant four-point lead over Edwards at 31 percent to 27 percent.Clinton, the former first lady who would if elected be the country’s first female president, slipped to third place at 24 percent. The survey carries a statistical margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

Still completely within the margin of error but it just shows how fluid the race currently is. I am giddy with anticipation over how absurdly close this is.

I’ll be back again in a little while with more relevant information as there doesn’t seem to be much more until we start getting some results.

Update @ 5:34pm

So the latest news is that the news hasn’t changed much since the last update. Actually the most pertinent news seems to be the vast amount of undecided voters who plan on caucusing tonight. The amount is larger than you’d think it seems.

Here’s a report from CNN on how the Iowa caucus votes are counted and tabulated:

I’ll be back a little later once things start heating up as the caucuses begin in about 2 hours or so, probably with a new post to organize the official results as they start pouring in.

Update From Angry:

Giuliani a no show in Iowa

By Claudia Parsons
Thu Jan 3, 3:23 PM ET

BEDFORD, New Hampshire (Reuters) – Rudy Giuliani was the only leading White House hopeful not in Iowa on Thursday as voters there kick off the process of choosing the next U.S. president, but he said he was not worried about missing it.

In national polls, the former New York mayor has led the Republican field of candidates for the November 2008 election. But he trails in Iowa as well as the other early voting state, New Hampshire, which votes on January 8.

Asked if he was getting nervous about his decision to skip Iowa, Giuliani said he was still ahead in the polls in 16 to 18 states while his nearest competitor was ahead in just four.

“We’re sitting in a pretty good position,” he told reporters after meeting voters at a Segway factory in Bedford, New Hampshire. “So no, we’re not worried and we’re not concerned.”

Hmmm not so sure that was a smart decision regardless of the outcome. It could effect his standing in other states in the long run regardless of how assured he is.

Update @ 7:54pm by Nate

Here’s the latest minutes before the caucuses start from the Fox Report:

That’s it for this thread, I’ll be starting a new post in 30 minutes or so with the official results as they start rolling in.

Update

Here’s a link to the official results:

Official Iowa Caucus Results