The Iowa presidential caucuses on January 15 mark the official start of the 2024 presidential election. But just how much do you know about this political tradition? Test your knowledge with this short, fun quiz.


This Republican’s 1980 victory in Iowa gave him “Big Mo” — a term that’s still used in political circles today. Who was it?

A: Ronald Reagan

B: Bob Dole

C: George H.W. Bush

D: John Connally

Answer: C  After being declared the winner, Bush said, “We will look forward to Big Mo (momentum) being our side.” It deserted him 36 days later when Reagan trounced Bush 50-23 percent in the New Hampshire primary.


This contest generated the highest turnout for the Iowa Democratic caucuses in history.

A: JFK v Hubert Humphrey, 1960

B: Hillary Clinton v. Barack Obama, 2008

C: Hillary Clinton v Bernie Sanders, 2016

D: George McGovern v. Ed Muskie, 1972

Answer: B  Turnout in the Iowa Democratic caucuses hit a record in 2008, when 239,872 Democrats — or 39.5 percent of the state’s registered Democrats — participated in the event.


Only one non-incumbent has won the Iowa caucuses twice. Who was it?

A: Gerald Ford

B: Ronald Reagan

C: George H.W. Bush

D: Bob Dole

Answer: D   The Kansas senator won it in 1988 and 1996.


Long before Hillary Clinton made political history by becoming the first female to win a major party’s presidential nomination, this woman became the first to ever receive votes in the Iowa caucuses.

A: Susan B. Anthony

B: Eleanor Roosevelt

C: Shirley Chisolm

D: Jacqueline Kennedy

Answer: C   In 1972, the New York Congresswoman received 130 votes or about 1.3 percent.


Who won the 1992 Democratic caucuses?

A: Bill Clinton

B: Tom Harkin

C: Al Gore

D: Paul Tsongas

Answer: B   Iowans love voting for fellow Iowans. Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin swept his home state with 76.5 percent. Unfortunately, he only won two more states – neighboring Minnesota and North Dakota – and dropped out before Super Tuesday.


Which of the following candidates have won — and lost — an Iowa caucus?

A: John McCain

B: Ronald Reagan

C: George H.W. Bush

D: All of them.

Answer: D   McCain lost in 2000 but won in 2008; Reagan lost to his future VP George H.W. Bush in 1980 but won (as an unchallenged incumbent) in 1988. And after beating Reagan, H.W. Bush lost to Sen. Bob Dole in 1988 — but picked up another win as an incumbent in 1992.