Ben Tribbett at the indispensable, insightful and indubitable Not Larry Sabato blog suspects that Barack Obama‘s success in the vote-rich eastern belt of Iowa “had more to do with proximity to Illinois than it did with the candidates.”
It’s true that eastern Iowa is very much in Chicago’s orbit. Former Speaker Dennis Haster (R-Ill.), for example, did more for the city of Chicago than any other Member of Congress in the last 50 years. And yet his district extends to within six miles of the Iowa border.
Furthermore, Iowa is very much Chicago Cubs country, thanks in part to the 2004 AAA Pacific League Champion Iowa Cubs (The map of Nike baseball loyalties below shows how the reach of Wrigley fandom).
Obama actually took 500 of his best friends to an Iowa Cubs game for July 4, 2007. But unlike Hillary Clinton (a Cubs fan? Yankees?) or Rudy Giuliani (Yanks? Red Sox?!?), Obama makes clear where he baseball loyalties lie. He’s been quoted as saying, “I’m a White Sox fan all the way.”