Many Trump supporters express doubts about participating in Iowa caucuses

The WaPo interviewed a bunch of Trump supporters, and while they all love Trump, many had varying degrees of doubt about whether they would even bother to show up for the Iowa caucuses:

When Donald Trump held one of his boisterous rallies at the state fairgrounds this month, Bonnie and Randy Reynolds arrived two hours early to make sure they could snag seats. They bought "Make America Great Again" hats, put on campaign T-shirts and passed through a security checkpoint.

"In the end, everything that he's saying might not happen if he is elected — but I'm willing to give it a shot," said Randy Reynolds, 49, who used to vote for Democrats but switched to Republicans a decade ago. "I will give him 100 percent. . . . It would be amazing if the majority of things that he said would actually happen. That would be amazing."

So, obviously, the couple plan to caucus for Trump on Feb. 1?

"We're going to see," Reynolds said. "With kids and grandkids and all this, it's kind of hectic. ... We'll look into it. If our time is available, then yeah, maybe we'll do it. Maybe. We'll have to see."

Unlike a general election or traditional primary, only a small fraction of Iowans attend the caucuses. In 2012 and 2008, roughly 20 percent of registered Republicans caucused. In low-turnout elections like this, voters tend to be older people who vote regularly and are more likely to have a college degree — not necessarily the group Trump seems to have fired up.

It takes a higher level of commitment to caucus. In traditional primaries, voters have most of the day to show up at the polls. To caucus, Iowans have to be in line at their local precinct by 7 p.m. and will spend most of their evening there, listening to speeches and casting their vote.

At Trump's rally in Des Moines on Dec. 11, a couple in their early 30s said they have no plans to caucus, even though they hope Trump will be president and wanted their two young sons to see the candidate speak. A 25-year-old graduate student said he would probably caucus for Trump, but he just moved to the state and has no idea how to do so. A group of high school students said they won't be old enough to vote. A retiree who said he's "not a political sort of guy" is still surveying his options.

Linda Stuver, 61, said Trump is her top pick, although she also likes Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) .... Is she annoyed and irritated enough to caucus?

"I don't know," she said, shaking her head. "I never have."

... a Trump staffer with a clipboard stopped by the small section of bleachers where she was sitting. "Is there anybody up here that's 100 percent sure that you're caucusing on February 1 for Trump?" the staffer asked, then waited, holding the clipboard over his head. "Anybody? No?"

With no takers, the staffer moved on to the next section of cheering fans eagerly awaiting Trump's arrival.

Do these quotes show a representative sample of Trump supporters?  I find it more than a bit suspicious that all the people quoted had doubts about participating in the caucuses.  We have no way of finding how what the real proportion of committed followers is.  But the fact that many of them are new people Trump is bringing into the process makes it more worrisome; the most reliable profile of a caucus attendee is someone who has participated several times in the past.

That's why I have made the point in the past that Trump may be in trouble in Iowa because of his failure to build a durable campaign organization there that is identifying and training sufficient numbers of supporters for the caucuses.

This article was written by Ed Straker, senior writer of NewsMachete.com, the conservative news site.

The WaPo interviewed a bunch of Trump supporters, and while they all love Trump, many had varying degrees of doubt about whether they would even bother to show up for the Iowa caucuses:

When Donald Trump held one of his boisterous rallies at the state fairgrounds this month, Bonnie and Randy Reynolds arrived two hours early to make sure they could snag seats. They bought "Make America Great Again" hats, put on campaign T-shirts and passed through a security checkpoint.

"In the end, everything that he's saying might not happen if he is elected — but I'm willing to give it a shot," said Randy Reynolds, 49, who used to vote for Democrats but switched to Republicans a decade ago. "I will give him 100 percent. . . . It would be amazing if the majority of things that he said would actually happen. That would be amazing."

So, obviously, the couple plan to caucus for Trump on Feb. 1?

"We're going to see," Reynolds said. "With kids and grandkids and all this, it's kind of hectic. ... We'll look into it. If our time is available, then yeah, maybe we'll do it. Maybe. We'll have to see."

Unlike a general election or traditional primary, only a small fraction of Iowans attend the caucuses. In 2012 and 2008, roughly 20 percent of registered Republicans caucused. In low-turnout elections like this, voters tend to be older people who vote regularly and are more likely to have a college degree — not necessarily the group Trump seems to have fired up.

It takes a higher level of commitment to caucus. In traditional primaries, voters have most of the day to show up at the polls. To caucus, Iowans have to be in line at their local precinct by 7 p.m. and will spend most of their evening there, listening to speeches and casting their vote.

At Trump's rally in Des Moines on Dec. 11, a couple in their early 30s said they have no plans to caucus, even though they hope Trump will be president and wanted their two young sons to see the candidate speak. A 25-year-old graduate student said he would probably caucus for Trump, but he just moved to the state and has no idea how to do so. A group of high school students said they won't be old enough to vote. A retiree who said he's "not a political sort of guy" is still surveying his options.

Linda Stuver, 61, said Trump is her top pick, although she also likes Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) .... Is she annoyed and irritated enough to caucus?

"I don't know," she said, shaking her head. "I never have."

... a Trump staffer with a clipboard stopped by the small section of bleachers where she was sitting. "Is there anybody up here that's 100 percent sure that you're caucusing on February 1 for Trump?" the staffer asked, then waited, holding the clipboard over his head. "Anybody? No?"

With no takers, the staffer moved on to the next section of cheering fans eagerly awaiting Trump's arrival.

Do these quotes show a representative sample of Trump supporters?  I find it more than a bit suspicious that all the people quoted had doubts about participating in the caucuses.  We have no way of finding how what the real proportion of committed followers is.  But the fact that many of them are new people Trump is bringing into the process makes it more worrisome; the most reliable profile of a caucus attendee is someone who has participated several times in the past.

That's why I have made the point in the past that Trump may be in trouble in Iowa because of his failure to build a durable campaign organization there that is identifying and training sufficient numbers of supporters for the caucuses.

This article was written by Ed Straker, senior writer of NewsMachete.com, the conservative news site.