Tonight some 150.000 - 200,000 Iowans will gather at locations all across their state to choose the Democratic and Republican candidates as Iowa's recommendations for the national conventions. As the "jumping off point" for the Presidential Race Iowa's importance to the media is extraordinary - and many would say irrationally overblown by the media.
Some conventional wisdom holds that there are "three tickets out" of Iowa and this year probably won't be the exception to that on the Democratic side, where it's likely that Obama, Edwards, and Clinton will come out with enough support to make the next race - New Hampshire - the media's next darling.
Republican results will be complicated by the fact that Giuliani and McCain, both strong nationally, have made few attempts to do well in Iowa. I'd suggest that after Iowa we'll see the Republican field quickly narrow to Huckabee, Romney, McCain, and Giuliani with the first two as rising stars and the second two as falling stars. I still predict Romney will win the Republican nomination.
Based on the most recent polling averages I'm starting to doubt my own predictions of Romney and Clinton, but it's very hard to predict Caucus results based on polls because people must make a substantial committment to a caucus, especially on the Democratic side where you must also stand up and sometimes speak for your candidate.