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Waiting To See Who Wins Iowa? Take A Look At How Past Winners Have Fared

Current Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum narrowly won the Iowa caucuses in 2012. However, his luck didn't hold. i

Current Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum narrowly won the Iowa caucuses in 2012. However, his luck didn't hold. Charlie Neibergall/AP hide caption

toggle caption Charlie Neibergall/AP
Current Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum narrowly won the Iowa caucuses in 2012. However, his luck didn't hold.

Current Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum narrowly won the Iowa caucuses in 2012. However, his luck didn't hold.

Charlie Neibergall/AP

The first real votes of the 2016 presidential election will be cast at the Iowa caucuses tonight, starting at 8 p.m. ET.

And that means there are a lot of questions in the air.

Will Donald Trump's lead in the polls translate to dominance in the caucus rooms? Will Iowa voters feel the Bern? What's the mood like on the ground? (You'll find answers at NPR Politics, with a wide range of reporting and analysis on the candidates, the voters and what it all means.)

What's going on right now? (Head over to the Politics site, which will offer friendly, helpful and up-to-the-minute information on what's happening ahead of the caucuses and as the results roll in.)

And hey, how does a caucus work, anyway? (It's a neighborhood meeting of sorts, as Domenico Montanaro explains.)

While we're at it, why does Iowa get to go first? (It wasn't really on purpose, Sam Sanders says, at least not at first. Iowa has a complicated process, so they needed more time.)

And going big picture here: Just how good are the super-early states at predicting the ultimate candidate? (For Republicans, New Hampshire is a better indicator; for Democrats, Iowa is slightly better. Domenico breaks it down.)

Have even more questions? Take a look at NPR's 2016 Iowa Briefing Book — the collection of facts, figures and context that those of us here in the newsroom are using to navigate the caucuses.

But if you're all out of questions and just dying to see some Iowa caucus results, well, we can tide you over. While you wait to see who takes Iowa, and hear all the speculation about what that means for the race, let's take a trip back in time to see who has won the caucuses in the past ... and how well that worked out for them.

Correction Feb. 10, 2016

A previous version of this chart misidentified the winner of the 1972 presidential election. Richard Nixon, not Gerald Ford, was re-elected.

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