Sub-zero temperatures and former President Donald Trump‘s dominant lead going into Monday’s Republican caucuses contributed to just 15% of Iowa’s registered Republicans turning out, lagging past caucus participation.

The Republican Party of Iowa reported that 110,298 Iowans braved a sub-zero Arctic blast on Monday night to caucus at 1,657 precincts across the state. The number of caucusgoers comprised 15% of Iowa’s roughly 752,200 registered Republicans. That falls short of the 20% to nearly 30% of Republicans who caucused in recent years, experts say.

The weather was a definite factor on the turnout, said Tim Hagle, a University of Iowa associate professor of political science, on Tuesday. Former President Trump’s expected trouncing of competitors was another.

As caucusgoers gathered at 7 p.m. on Monday, temperatures had dipped to 4 degrees below zero in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, said Brooke Hagenhoff, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Johnston. The wind chill in Des Moines made it feel more like 21 to 24 degrees below zero, she said, while in Cedar Rapids, it felt like 24 to 28 degrees below zero.

Voters walk into a caucus site on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, at Interstate-35 High School in Truro.

Voters walk into a caucus site on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, at Interstate-35 High School in Truro.

Des Moines’ temperature matched the Jan. 24, 1972, record low for a caucus in the capital city.

Hagenhoff said she’s unable to say what time of day Des Moines hit its record lows in 1972, since no hourly data is available. And wind chill data wasn’t reported five decades ago, she said. The Des Moines high was 25 degrees in 1972.

“It was an OK turnout,” Hagle said. Despite the race generating a lot of interest, it “wasn’t particularly close. That’s not overly surprising that turnout was down,” he said.

“You probably had some people that were Trump supporters that said, ‘He’s going to win. It’s too cold. I’m staying home,'” Hagle said.

2024 Iowa Caucus Recap: Everything to know about how Trump won and how the day unfolded

Precinct-14 Caucusgoers wait for their vote in the Iowa Caucus at Ames Middle School on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in Ames, Iowa. (Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune-USA Today Network)Precinct-14 Caucusgoers wait for their vote in the Iowa Caucus at Ames Middle School on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in Ames, Iowa. (Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune-USA Today Network)

Precinct-14 Caucusgoers wait for their vote in the Iowa Caucus at Ames Middle School on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in Ames, Iowa. (Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune-USA Today Network)

It was a historic Republican caucus win for Trump, who got 51% of the vote. Among the other top candidates, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis snagged 21% of the vote, and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley won 19%. Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who snagged 8% of the vote, dropped out of the race Monday night.

Three other candidates — Texas businessman Ryan Binkley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — each garnered less than 1% of the vote. Christie suspended his campaign on Jan. 10, and Hutchinson dropped out of the race Tuesday.

“Some people were suggesting that if it was below 100,000, that would look really bad,” Hagle said, noting that critics balk at Iowa’s first-in-the-nation GOP contest, given the state’s 3.2 million residents and nearly 90% white population. Iowa Democrats lost their first-in-the-nation status late last year.

While Trump wasn’t technically the incumbent, Hagle said “he’s effectively running as the incumbent, and incumbents usually don’t have serious challengers.” Incumbents have “very high name recognition” and “lots of support from their base from before when they won,” he said.

Republicans set a record turnout in the 2016 caucuses when about 187,000 people participated, or about 29% of registered Republicans at the time. It was a hotly contested race between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, then New York developer Trump, and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Cruz won the Iowa caucus.

About 120,000 Iowa Republicans turned out in 2012 and in 2008 — about 20% of registered GOP voters.

“Historically, it was lower than average. But given the weather, it wasn’t too bad,” said Christopher Larimer, a University of Northern Iowa political science professor, of this year’s contest.

Jeff Kaufmann, the Republican Party of Iowa chairman, said in a statement Monday night that caucusgoers braved the frigid temperatures, “driven by frustration” with President Joe Biden’s performance and excited by the GOP’s “deep bench of talent.”

“Iowans came out to have their voices heard,” Kaufmann said. “They came out for their families, their communities, their state, and their country.”

A caucusgoer in Precinct 17 writes his preferred candidate's name on a paper ballot during the Iowa Caucuses at Ames Middle School on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in Ames, Iowa.A caucusgoer in Precinct 17 writes his preferred candidate's name on a paper ballot during the Iowa Caucuses at Ames Middle School on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in Ames, Iowa.

A caucusgoer in Precinct 17 writes his preferred candidate’s name on a paper ballot during the Iowa Caucuses at Ames Middle School on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in Ames, Iowa.

Republicans make up about 34% of the state’s 2.2 million registered voters.

Iowa’s Republican party is trying to determine how many Iowans registered in person Monday at precinct sites to participate in the GOP caucus. One Des Moines location reported running out of forms to register new Republicans.

With President Joe Biden the presumptive nominee, Democrats met to discuss party business Monday.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Iowa Caucus turnout: 15% of state’s registered Republicans show up

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