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A Prognosticator Who Got it Right

By Dan Balz
DES MOINES -- Give Gordon Fischer the credit he deserves. The former Iowa Democratic chairman and now a senior adviser to Barack Obama's Iowa campaign went out on a limb before the caucuses, predicting not just a record turnout but an extraordinary turnout.

Interviewed Sunday night at an Obama rally in Indianola, Fischer boldly predicted that turnout would be 200,000. At the time, the bravest of prognosticators were saying turnout could reach as much as 160,000. Most anticipated turnout of 140,000 to 150,000.

But Fischer dismissed those predictions. "There's such intense field operations by all the campaigns," he said. "Everybody's coming out."

In the end, more than 235,000 Iowans attended the caucuses, at least 110,000 more than showed up four years ago and at least 176,000 more than in 2000.

Fischer's only hesitation was when he was asked whether there was any way Obama could lose if the turnout were as high as he was predicting. "Sure," he said, noting that Hillary Clinton was poised to turn out many women who had never attended a caucus before.

But when asked which candidate would turn out the most new caucusgoers, he didn't hesitate. "Obama," he said.

On that, and on the turnout, his antennae were as sharp as those of anyone in the state.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 3, 2008; 11:59 PM ET
 
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