History May Not Help Figure Out Iowa Once upon a time, the Iowa caucus was the first step in a long process leading to the presidential nomination. Now, for some candidates, it may be their first and final step. Over the years, candidates have come to Iowa with different strategies and left with mixed results.
NPR logo History May Not Help Figure Out Iowa

History May Not Help Figure Out Iowa

Ken Rudin
Video by John Poole, NPR

Watch Ken Rudin's Guide to the Iowa Caucuses

Sen. Birch Bayh's second-place showing in the 1976 Iowa caucuses was of little help to his chances. hide caption

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But Gov. Michael Dukakis' third-place finish in 1988 didn't prevent him from winning the nomination. hide caption

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Richard Nixon is one of three candidates who lost his home state while winning the White House. hide caption

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Before Stephen Colbert's brief attempt this year, Pat Paulsen made a mock-serious bid for president in 1972. hide caption

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This month's NPR Democratic candidate debate in Iowa was the third radio-only presidential debate in history. hide caption

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Thirty-two years ago today, a pre-primary Gallup Poll shows President Ford trailing challenger Ronald Reagan. hide caption

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Jimmy Carter, seen speaking in 1976, spent a tremendous amount of time campaigning in Iowa and finished strong with rural voters. Brian Alpert/Keystone/Getty Images hide caption

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Brian Alpert/Keystone/Getty Images

Jimmy Carter, seen speaking in 1976, spent a tremendous amount of time campaigning in Iowa and finished strong with rural voters.

Brian Alpert/Keystone/Getty Images