Will 40,000 Iowa caucus-goers influence election for 350 million Americans?

Mounting signs turnout for Iowa caucuses could hit record


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 26, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Keep in mind here there aren't that many who ultimately finish this process out, all right?

If you have four or five candidates vying for the roughly 150,000, if we're lucky, we're told, 160,000, which would a record, 160,000 caucus-goers on the Republican side, you divide that vote along, let's say, just division of the candidates, the winner could walk away with as few as 40,000 votes.  Think about that, in a country of roughly 350 million people, that the next leader of the free world could be well off on his or her way as the result of picking up 40,000 votes.

Democratic pollster for Jimmy Carter, the guy who made, of course, Iowa famous -- and, remember, that was not because he won the state, but because he came in second to nobody -- that was Jimmy Carter then.

And here was the guy who orchestrated political history. He's one of the most modest guys I know, but Pat Caddell made history, and that was a big deal back then, and he got even fewer votes back then.

Do you think Iowa is about to recapture its allure? What do you think, Pat?


I think that, when Jimmy Carter ran in '76, Iowa caucus was still not that important yet.

CAVUTO: Right.

CADDELL: McGovern had done well against Muskie in '72, but it was not that important.

CAVUTO: All right, this is Pat Caddell with the then governor.

CADDELL: A child.

CAVUTO: You haven't really changed.

CADDELL: Yes, oh, God.

CAVUTO: You're kind of pretty much right on.


CAVUTO: But go ahead.

CADDELL: Oh, my God. Look at that. Oh, God. You shouldn't do that.  That's cruel, Neil.

CAVUTO: You look great.

CADDELL: I will pay you back on this one. Don't worry.

CAVUTO: I bet you will.

CADDELL: Yes, the -- I was going to say, the Carter -- uncommitted -- it wasn't surprised that uncommitted got so many votes because of the way the caucus works, that people don't have candidates, whatever.

CAVUTO: Right.

CADDELL: But it was a shocker that Carter had come in first. We were able to parlay that into New Hampshire.

That was the first time it had really been parlayed into a New Hampshire victory. What has happened subsequently with Iowa is that it is a -- New Hampshire has conceded Iowa a place because it was a caucus state. I think they probably regret it, because, for a long time, New Hampshire was the key test.

CAVUTO: That's right. That's right.

CADDELL: Because it was first and early.

Now you have Iowa and New Hampshire sharing that. It is more important this year, but what you're saying is something very interesting and important. We're talking about, at most, we're talking about, at most, the Republican average turnout the last two contested caucuses was 120,000.  They may get up to 150,000, 160,000, which is their primary -- normal primary turnout.

CAVUTO: That's their total voters participating and chopped among the variety of candidates.

CADDELL: But somebody winning.

CAVUTO: Right.

CADDELL: But you win with 40,000, the way that Huckabee did in '08.

CAVUTO: You're on your way.

CADDELL: And given the bump to New Hampshire, if that's the case, or whatever, yes, you have -- and on the Democratic side, similarly, little bigger, could be as many as 200,000 or so.

CAVUTO: Now, let me ask you, Pat.


CAVUTO: Go ahead. Finish that thought.

CADDELL: But I just want to make a point.


CADDELL: You're right. You're talking about 40,000 to 50,000 votes deciding who may well be the nominees of our parties and the next president.


All right, I was thinking -- I was thinking of Jimmy Carter, who is a born- again Christian and a very religious evangelical kind of appeal that he had, and some of the Iowa winners since, particularly in the Republican Party, when you had Rick Santorum and before him, Mike Huckabee.

Does it strike you as odd that Jerry Falwell Jr. and Sarah Palin, very big in the evangelical community, very popular in that regard in Iowa, have both come out in favor of Donald Trump? Either that represents a shift, or they just feel that he's just a better bet.

But what do you make of that and how that could be changing the complexion of the state?

CADDELL: I think it is not just even -- I think it is more than evangelical.

And I think you heard this before with Falwell. I think, right now, evangelical voters are not just voting on being evangelical, just like ideology voters are not voting on ideology anymore alone.

This, as I said, have said constantly to you, is an insurgency election.

CAVUTO: Yes. Exactly.

CADDELL: What people are looking for is strong leadership, someone who will reverse things, someone who will get things done.

CAVUTO: All right.

CADDELL: And they think Trump is that.

It is amazing to me...


CADDELL: ... the spurt he seems to be getting at the end.

CAVUTO: All right, buddy.

CADDELL: Can I make one quick point?

CAVUTO: Very quick, or I'm going to have to kill you. Go ahead.

CADDELL: Carter -- Carter was, remember, a white Southerner who had -- we had no Southerners run since the Civil War. So, in Iowa, a Union Yankee state, it was a shock that he had done as well as he had done and finished ahead of all of the candidates.

CAVUTO: All right. So, we went a little longer for that little detail.

CADDELL: These things matter.

CAVUTO: OK. Well, OK, I guess it is valuable.

Pat, I'm kidding. We're looking forward to be joining you in Iowa, when we look at this, this weekend, on FOX News.


CAVUTO: And then, of course, our special coverage on Fox Business Monday.

CADDELL: Me, too.

CAVUTO: But we're there every step of the way, the man who made history, Pat Caddell. All right.  

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