Iowa Caucus


On February 1, voters in Iowa will meet in caucus sites to elect party delegates for Election 2016 candidates.

The Iowa Caucus is different than a primary election, where registered voters cast ballots to be counted and reported by the state's election office. Iowans will elect delegates for political party county conventions, who will then choose the delegates for each party's presidential convention. The caucus votes are counted and reported by the political party. The Iowa Caucus is newsworthy because it is a different process, as well as the first major electoral event in the presidential election.

Educational Resources


How does the Iowa Caucus work?

Election night math (article)

Iowa Caucus 101 - great resource with teacher curriculum
History of Iowa Caucus
How Iowa Caucus works, why important (Washington Post)

Video explainers
Democratic caucuses
Republican caucuses

News coverage, speeches, votes, etc.

CSPAN Coverage

Political cartoons

Des Moines Register (prominent Iowa newspaper)

Des Moines Register Compare Candidates tool

Examples of campaign ads
Hillary Clinton (D)

Bernie Sanders (D)

Jeb Bush (R)

Ben Carson (R)

Ted Cruz (R)

Marco Rubio (R)

Donald Trump (R)

Analyze candidates

Tools for candidate analysis

Discussion Questions

  • What is the history of the Iowa Caucus?
  • What is the significance?
  • Why Iowa?
  • What do I know about the state of Iowa? About the Iowa Caucus? About Election 2016?
  • Compare and contrast Iowa elections to what happens in my state?
  • What do I need to learn? Where can I find more information?
  • Who will win this caucus ? Why?
  • Will the results be different than the vote in my state? Why or why not?
  • How does the Iowa Caucus impact the state outside of the election? Does it impact the state economy? How?
  • If you were a candidate, what would you say to potential voters?
  • If you were a journalist, what would your headline say before the vote? After the vote?
  • If you were a voter in Iowa, what would you think about the Iowa Caucus?

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