Where second place is really great

Updated
 
The second-biggest town in Sioux County, Iowa.
The second-biggest town in Sioux County, Iowa.
jimmywayne/Flickr

Last night on the show, we talked about the Iowa caucuses’ history of picking not winners but losers – if you do too badly as a candidate, you’ll tend to drop out. Iowa does some of the first real winnowing of the field.

Over at Patchwork Nation, Dante Chinni focuses on one spot in northwestern Iowa, Sioux County, where it has historically been better to come in second. He writes:

[T]ake a look at who has come in second in Sioux in the last three contested Iowa caucuses: 1996, Sen. Robert Dole; 2000, Texas Gov. George Bush; and 2008, Arizona Sen. John McCain. All three went on to capture the GOP nomination.

Why? The majority of caucus voters in Sioux go with their hearts and support the person they would like to see win. But there is a strong current of establishment Republicanism beneath the rank-and-file – and those voters are pragmatists.

If the charts at Wonk Blog today mean anything, the pragmatic vote goes to Mitt Romney.

Iowa

Where second place is really great

Updated