While Iowa's been pretty accurate picking the winning horse (at least of the party nomination) lately, since 1972 it's only been about 50-50. In 1992, Bill Clinton finished a distant third, as did Michael Dukakis in 1988. And poor Jimmy Carter came in second place to "Uncommitted" in 1976 and worse, George McGovern placed third behind "Uncommitted" and Edmund Muskie in 1972.
What does this mean for the true heft of Obama's victory?
As the BBC points out:
"Very often it is not so much about winning in Iowa but doing better or at least as well as expected.
Democrat Howard Dean was leading his party's polls in 2004 but after his third place in Iowa his campaign stuttered and never recovered."
Obama certainly achieved that benchmark. With his sizable 38 percent of the vote, and the record turnout in Iowa a full 100,000 more than last year, it was clearly a victory for the political process as well — and that is something history won't soon forget.