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Election 2016: Rundown on the Iowa Caucus & New Hampshire Primary– What’s the Difference?

Rachel Zinberg, Maroon Tribune Reporter

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Rundown on the Iowa Caucus & New Hampshire Primary– What’s the Difference?

By: Rachel Zinberg

As the hype of the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary dies down, you may wonder the difference and importance of the two. While both are electoral processes necessary in order to nominate candidates for the presidency, each have their own unique history and serve as some of the first major milestones before the upcoming presidential elections.


The Iowa Caucus was a turning point in the upcoming elections. In a caucus, the people of the community put together the people they choose as their favorite. The delegates nominated in this manner typically state which presidential candidate they favor, so people can vote and choose accordingly. Their votes are openly expressed and shared amongst others in the room. The caucus is a local party meeting and done by breaking into sections. Electoral votes are recorded or submitted by informal ways such as raising hands. However, primaries are submitted by secret ballot.


In a primary, the states allow non-members of their party to vote. Unlike a caucus, the election is held in a secret ballot with votes cast on pieces of paper counted afterwards. In a primary, a voter must be join under a party to vote, but can switch back to “undeclared” afterwards. As a result, a voter only has to technically be part of a party in the time it takes to fill out and submit a ballot.


Following the Iowa Caucus on Monday, February 1st, Ted Cruz won out of the Republicans with 27.6% of the vote, earning him 8 out of the 30 delegates. Trump trailed at a close second with 24.3% of the votes, earning him 7 delegates. However, the Democratic caucus had a much closer outcome than the Republicans. Hillary Clinton won 49.9% votes, earning her 23 out the 44 available delegates. Bernie Sanders followed at a painstakingly close 49.6%, earning him 21 out of the 44 delegates. Martin O’Malley only earned 0.6% of the vote, leaving him out of the running.
After the recent New Hampshire Primary on Tuesday, February 9th, Donald Trump won 35.3% of the Republican votes, earning him 10 delegates out of the available 23. Kasich followed second with 15.8%, taking 4 from the other 13 left.  Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio followed with about 11%, with each earning 3 delegates. The Democratic delegates finished with a much steeper margin than the Iowa Caucus. Bernie Sanders won with 60.4% of the votes, taking 15 out of the available 24 delegates. Clinton followed with 38%, earning the last 9 out of 24 delegates.

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Election 2016: Rundown on the Iowa Caucus & New Hampshire Primary– What’s the Difference?