The 2024 presidential election cycle kicks into high gear today with the Republican Iowa caucuses, the first nominating contest of the primary season.
Former President Donald Trump enters the day as a significant favorite, with the closely watched Iowa Poll showing him with 48% of the vote. Former Gov. Nikki Haley (SC) and Gov. Ron DeSantis (FL) are in a tight race for second, polling at 20% and 16%, respectively. The next closest candidate, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, sits at around 8%. See poll averages here.
Unlike traditional ballot contests, the caucuses resemble neighborhood meetings held across the state's nearly 1,700 precincts (watch overview). Delegates—who cast corresponding votes at the national convention in July—are awarded to each candidate based on the proportion of precincts won.
Democrats, led by incumbent President Joe Biden, opted for a mail-in process. Both parties will participate in New Hampshire's Jan. 23 primaries.
Caucusgoers will brave frigid temperatures, with wind chills in Des Moines expected to dip below minus 35 degrees. The chill is part of a larger arctic air mass sweeping down through much of the US early this week (forecasts here).