Long-serving Republican Iowa Governor Terry Branstad predicts a “gigantic” turnout for the Republican Party Caucus next week on February 1.
Branstad made the prediction in an interview with USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page published Tuesday.
Branstad played down Page’s question of whether he thought the GOP turnout would be the 300,000 estimated by a recent CNN poll model. But he added the turnout would likely exceed any previous Republican turnout–which in recent years has averaged 120,000 participants. The 2008 Democratic Party Caucus in which Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton had a record turnout of 239,872.
“I don’t think it’s going to be that big. But I think’s gonna exceed any turnout we’ve ever had before. The number of candidates, the interest I think is very great. And um, consequently I think we’re gonna have a gigantic turnout.”
Page asked if he thought that would benefit Donald Trump.
Branstad replied, “I think it is considering that he gets these huge crowds, uh, I think that if the turnout–the bigger the turnout probably the better it is for him.”
The New York Times‘ Iowa caucus expert Trip Gabriel penned a short article published Tuesday entitled, Our Man in Iowa: Early Signs of a Big Turnout for Republicans that indicated record GOP participation.
“There are mounting signs these caucuses may go into the record books for turnout, at least on the Republican side. Tami Jorgensen, who works for the auditor of the predominantly conservative Warren County, told me she was astonished at how many people had called asking for the location of their precinct’s caucuses.”
Driving the turnout is a strong sense of betrayal by the Republican Party establishment consistently expressed by a majority of likely Iowa caucus goers in polls this election season.
The two leading candidates, Trump and Ted Cruz, have campaigned against the betrayals by the establishment and are reaping the benefits with the Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday showing the two candidates in a statistical tie with Trump at 31% and Cruz at 29%. Marco Rubio was at 13% with the other candidates in single digits. (the poll consisted of “651 Iowa likely Republican Caucus participants with a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percentage points”)
The majority of likely Iowa caucus participants’ sense of betrayal by the GOP has been shown in polling by Fox News this month.
In the most recent poll, 53% of likely Republican caucus participants answered in the affirmative to the question, “Would you say you feel betrayed by politicians from your political party, or not?” The previous poll from two weeks ago had the sense of betrayal at 57%.
Iowa Republicans sense of betrayal matches that of Republicans nationwide, according to another Fox News poll released this month that showed 52% of Republicans said yes to the question, “Would you say you feel betrayed by politicians from your political party, or not?”