Election analyst says there will be surprises in the 2020 Iowa caucus

Election analyst Henry Olsen predicted in an interview that aired Tuesday on Hill.TV that there could be surprise, last-minute movement among 2020 presidential candidates during the Iowa caucus.

"The two things about Iowa we know is that there's fast movement late," Olsen, a Washington Post columnist, told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons on "What America's Thinking." "John Edwards in 2004 moved up very late to be a surprise second-place finisher." 

"Second, is the difference between voting and delegates," he continued. "Because of the Democratic Party rules, at each precinct, you have to get 15 percent to be considered viable, and so you're going to have a lot of people who are moving around in the 17-person race, who will be then pushed up to the leaders, and whoever their second choices are, will propel that person." 

"So you'll see significant polling surprises in Iowa precisely because if 30 percent of the voters want somebody who's not going to hit viability, they'll have to pick somebody, be forced to choose to pick somebody, and that might move somebody from fourth place to first place on election night."

The Iowa Democratic Party is already preparing for next year's caucuses, the first of the presidential nominating cycle. 

The party added six "virtual" caucuses in addition to the in-person caucuses, which will take place on February 3. 

"Over the course of six days, registered Democrats who have signed up with the Iowa Democratic Party will be able to participate in one of six virtual caucuses by phone or smart device. Virtual caucus-goers will be able to rank up to five choices for president," the party said in a statement released in February. 

— Julia Manchester