Six questions Iowa caucuses may answer

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Media Outlet: CNN

Monday the voting finally begins. While the most pertinent question on everyone's mind is who will win the biggest support within each party in the Iowa caucuses, that aspect of the competition likely won't matter much. The delegate count is small, the history of Iowa is littered with victors who didn't go much further, and the impact of "momentum" is not nearly as great as it used to be as a result of changes in the political process.

Though we vastly overstate the significance of the caucuses, there are six important questions that will be answered and that will give us clues to the current state of the race. As we shift from the pre-primary of debates and fundraising to the part of the contest that centers on actual decisions by voters, we will start to get a sense of the real strengths and vulnerabilities of candidates in the months ahead.


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Julian Zelizer is a fellow in New America's Political Reform program. He is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University and writes a weekly column for CNN.com.