The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Big Crowds at Iowa Campaign Events Mean . . . Nothing, Really.


Don’t put too much stock into crowd size as an indicator of momentum in Iowa. Looking back four years, we find . . .

December 31, 2007:

[John] Edwards, his wife, Elizabeth, and their three kids race around Iowa in a frenzied final campaign swing that takes him to many of the 99 counties of the state, he is drawing big crowds in spots like the Giggling Goat in Boone.

John Edwards’ finish: 29.7 percent of the vote, second place, barely ahead of Hillary, 8 points behind Barack Obama.

January 3, 2008:

Looking tired, but excited, Governor Bill Richardson was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd in Iowa City, capping off one more busy day in a busy year of campaigning.

Bill Richardson’s finish: 2.1 percent of the vote, fourth place. He dropped out January 10.

January 3, 2008:

At times uncharacteristically enthusiastic, [Fred] Thompson spoke optimistically about his positive momentum in the state. “The crowds have been better and better and better, and enthusiasm is building and building and building,” he told a crowd of about 200 at a hotel in West Des Moines. “We’re going to have a wonderful day and a wonderful night.”

Fred Thompson’s finish: 13.4 percent of the vote, third place.

It’s Iowa, the final days and hours before the caucus. Of course people will show up to see the candidate. That doesn’t mean that they’ll support that candidate in the caucuses!

Tags: Bill Richardson , Fred Thompson , John Edwards


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