Caucuses an important part of nomination process
DES MOINES, Iowa - In Decision 2012 coverage this morning, all eyes are on Iowa, as the presidential race officially gets under way tonight. Heading into the caucuses, the race is tight.
In the latest Des Moines Register poll, Mitt Romeny has a slight lead over Ron Paul, but many eyes are on Rick Santorum, who has surged in recent polls.
And while things may have changed since the straw polls in August, some things will be clearer after tonight. It's not as simple as just heading into the voting booth though.
A caucus is part poll, part meeting. Republican and Democratic caucuses are different, and depending on how the caucus is organized, the caucus system may require voters to publicly announce the candidates they support.
In the instance of the Republican caucuses, voters will all meet at the same time at their polling places and listen to representatives for each candidate give short speeches in hopes of persuading people into voting for their candidate.
There will then be a vote, but even that's done differently depending on the meeting. Once the votes are tallied, a winner is declared for that group.
Then a certain number of delegates will be nominated by the voters, and delegates from each meeting will then attend future conventions. Eventually those delegates will be narrowed down into the group that will attend the Republican National Convention.