Raw Numbers and the Bigger Picture

Bob Myer
Based on the last week of coverage, culminating in hours of talk about the Iowa caucuses last night, one might think that much was decided in the contest.  Much was also made of the record turnout.  But I feel that making too much of this contest is harmful to the process of electing the next president.  With that in mind, here's some raw numbers and a little math in public.

CNN reports that 227,000 people caucused on the Democrat side and 120,000 people caucused on the Republican side.  There are roughly 3 million people in the state of Iowa and 301 million in the US.  Those numbers probably aren't exactly accurate, but they work for the purposes here. 

The question is just how much stock to put in the electoral decisions of 347,000 people.  The media would have us believe that the decisions of this small group are of paramount importance, that much hangs in the balance.

But that group - 347,000 - is only 1.157% of the population of Iowa and 0.1153% of the population of the US.

Undue influence on the political process by such a small segment of the population, it seems, fueled by media desire for an actual, tangible story not created by the candidates or their operatives in this seemingly endless presidential race.  Humbug.

Bob Myer blogs at http://www.mindofflapjack.blogspot.com/
Based on the last week of coverage, culminating in hours of talk about the Iowa caucuses last night, one might think that much was decided in the contest.  Much was also made of the record turnout.  But I feel that making too much of this contest is harmful to the process of electing the next president.  With that in mind, here's some raw numbers and a little math in public.

CNN reports that 227,000 people caucused on the Democrat side and 120,000 people caucused on the Republican side.  There are roughly 3 million people in the state of Iowa and 301 million in the US.  Those numbers probably aren't exactly accurate, but they work for the purposes here. 

The question is just how much stock to put in the electoral decisions of 347,000 people.  The media would have us believe that the decisions of this small group are of paramount importance, that much hangs in the balance.

But that group - 347,000 - is only 1.157% of the population of Iowa and 0.1153% of the population of the US.

Undue influence on the political process by such a small segment of the population, it seems, fueled by media desire for an actual, tangible story not created by the candidates or their operatives in this seemingly endless presidential race.  Humbug.

Bob Myer blogs at http://www.mindofflapjack.blogspot.com/