• Sen. Bernie Sanders will take Iowa's delegates, forecasts FiveThirtyEight
  • He'll also be the Democratic Party's presidential nominee
  • Pete Buttigieg has a 1-in-30 chance despite good Iowa outing

Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, are neck-and-neck in the total vote count for the round one alignment and statistically tied in state-delegate equivalents (SDEs), as of 10:00 a.m. CST Thursday, with 97 percent of the votes counted in the Iowa Democratic Caucus.

The latest Round One vote shows Sanders with 44,753 votes (26.53 percent); Buttigieg with 42,235 (25.04 percent); Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, with 34,312 (20.34 percent); former vice president Joe Biden with 23,051 (13.67 percent); and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, with 20,525 (12.17 percent).

On the other hand, the race for state-delegate equivalents sees Buttigieg with 550 votes (26.22 percent) Sanders with 547 (26.07 percent), Warren with 381 (18.16 percent), Biden with 331 (15.78 percent) and Klobuchar with 255 (12.15 percent).

Since Iowa precincts hold two rounds of preference expression, or alignments, caucusgoers' second choices in round two can be more important. Round two is the final ballot with state-delegate equivalents. This is what matters. Iowa has 41 pledged delegates.

Political and opinion analysis website FiveThirtyEight on Thursday forecasted the downfall of Biden in Iowa, the ascent of Sanders and a place at the top for Buttigieg based on polling data they had from 86 percent of precincts.

It seems they've gotten it about right based on 97 percent of precincts reporting. FiveThirtyEight estimated Sanders' chances of winning Iowa have advanced to 37 percent from 31 percent before Iowa, making him the most likely person to win the majority of pledged delegates.

On the other hand, Buttigieg’s chances of winning most of the delegates hasn't "improved by as much as you think," said FiveThirtyEight despite the odds of his winning Iowa rising to six percent from four percent.

As for who will win it all in the 2020 Democratic Primary, FiveThirtyEight now gives Sanders odds of 2-to-1 (48 percent) of winning more than half the pledged delegates, making him the Democratic Party standard bearer. Surprisingly, no Democrat winning more than half the pledged delegates is rated a 1-in-4 chance (23 percent). Biden has odds of 1-in-5 (19 percent) while Buttigieg has a mere 1-in-30 chance (four percent) of winning more than half the pledged delegates.

The site explains that its model "simulates the primary season thousands of times to find the most likely outcome for each candidate. The chart shows how many delegates, on average, each candidate is projected to have pledged to them at each point in the primary season, along with a range of possible delegate counts."

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaking at a campaign event in Derry, New Hampshire
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaking at a campaign event in Derry, New Hampshire GETTY IMAGES / JOE RAEDLE