Timeline Of Iowa Caucus Winners

A lot of people who won the Iowa caucus didn’t actually go on to win their party’s nomination. And yet — yet! — many of them do. What’s the percentage look like since 1972, when the Iowa caucus really started being a big deal?

1. 1972 - Edmund Muskie (D)

Muskie and “Uncommitted” each received 36% of the Democratic vote, though George McGovern eventually won the party’s nomination.

2. 1976 - Gerald Ford (R), Jimmy Carter (D)

(REUTERS/Stringer Korea/Win McNamee)

Gerald Ford beat out Ronald Reagan, and has been the only Republican nominee since 1976 to carry the state in the general election the following November.

“Uncommitted” actually beat out Carter, earning 37% of the vote to Carter’s 27%. Carter eventually won the general election.

3. 1980 - George HW Bush (R), Jimmy Carter (D)

(REUTERS/Rick Wilking/Win McNamee)

Bush received 32% of the Republican vote, although Ronald Reagan eventually won his party’s nomination and the general election.

Carter received 59% of the Democratic vote, and despite being an incumbent, was opposed by Ted Kennedy.

4. 1984 - Walter Mondale (D)

Mondale clinched 49% of the Democratic vote, eventually earning the Democratic nomination.

Incumbent Ronald Reagan was unopposed.

5. 1988 - Bob Dole (R), Dick Gephardt (D)

(REUTERS/Jeff Mitchell)

Bob Dole received 37% of the Republican vote, although George HW Bush eventually received the Republican nomination.

Dick Gephardt received 31% of the Democratic vote. Michael Dukakis, who garnered 22% of his party’s vote, eventually received the nomination.

6. 1992 - Tom Harkin (D)


Harkin, a US Senator from Iowa, received an unsurprising landslide victory with 76% of Democratic votes. Bill Clinton, who went on to win the general election, only received 3% of the vote.

Incumbent George H.W. Bush was unopposed.

7. 1996 - Bob Dole (R)

(REUTERS/Jim Bourg)

Dole clinched 26% of the Republican vote, and eventually, his party’s nomination.

Incumbent president Bill Clinton was unopposed and was reelected in the general election.

8. 2000 - George W. Bush (R), Al Gore (D)


An oddly prescient race: incumbent Vice President Al Gore received 63% of the Democratic vote, while eventual general election winner George W. Bush got 41% of his party’s vote.


Kerry won with 38% of the vote, eventually securing the Democratic nomination.

Incumbent President George W. Bush was unopposed.

10. 2008 - Mike Huckabee (R), Barack Obama (D)

(REUTERS/Frank Polich)

Barack Obama took home 38% of the Democratic vote, eventually securing his party’s nomination and the Presidency.

Mike Huckabee won the Republican race with 34%, though he eventually lost the nomination to John McCain.

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