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Michele Bachmann Wins Ames Straw Poll, Ron Paul A Close Second

The results of the Ames Straw Poll are in and native Iowan Michele Bachmann has eked out a close victory, with Texas Congressman Ron Paul coming a very close second:

Results just announced put Michele Bachmann as the winner of today’s Iowa Straw Poll. The Minnesota congresswoman earned 4,823 votes to secure her first place finish.

Congressman Ron Paul finished second with 4,671 votes; while former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty came in third with 2,293 votes.

Other vote totals are:

- Fourth place: Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania with 1,657 votes
– Fifth place: Retired businessman Herman Cain with 1,456 votes
– Sixth place: Governor Rick Perry with 718
– Seventh place: Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney with 567 votes
– Eighth place: Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 385 votes
– Ninth place: Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman with 69 votes
– Tenth place: U.S. Rep. Thad McCotter of Michigan with 35 votes

A total of 16,892 votes were cast.

The gap between Bachmann and Paul was just 152 votes, which is a testament to the fact that both campaigns were very aggressive about bringing in supporters to vote in the straw poll, and both can claim something of a victory. It’s Michele Bachmann, though, who is likely to get the biggest boost from these results, a boost her campaign likely needs now that Rick Perry is in the race and threatening to take the social conservative/Tea Party banner away from her, not to mention the fact that Perry totally out matches Bachmann when it comes to actual governing experience.

As for the other candidates, Tim Pawlenty’s third place finish might give him some claim to a moral victory, but it is an illusory one. Pawlenty trailed Bachmann by 2,350 votes and Paul by 2,378 votes, and he only got 636 more votes than Rick Santorum. Not a very good showing for a guy who’s been campaigning in Iowa longer than either of them. Pawlenty will probably stay in the race for now, but his campaign is on life support at this point. I’d expect his money to start drying up rather quickly as donors start looking elsewhere, and without money it’s going to be very hard for him to run a competitive campaign. At this point, I’d be very surprised if Pawlenty were still an active candidate for President two months from now.

Rick Santorum probably finished respectably enough to keep his campaign, which has been running on something of a shoestring budget anyway, up and running. He had hinted he drop out if he didn’t finish in the top five and he finished fourth. He’s not going to win, but Rick Santorum will be around at least through the Iowa Caucuses themselves I suspect.

Herman Cain is in pretty much the same position as Tim Pawlenty, with the exception that Cain never really had a big money campaign to begin with and he doesn’t have much of an Iowa staff to speak of. These results will probably be disheartening to many of his supporters, and that may affect the donations, but I’m not sure if that will cause him to drop out. Cain seems to think he’s on some kind of mission and, judging from the speech he gave at Ames today, he seems to be enjoying what he’s doing, so

The biggest surprise of the Straw Poll is the fact that Rick Perry, who hasn’t spent a single day as a candidate in Iowa and who just announced his candidacy this afternoon, got more votes as a write-in candidate than Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, and Thad McCotter. There were reports all week that a Pro-Perry SuperPAC was on the ground helping organize a write-in campaign. Apparently, they succeeded very nicely. I’d count that as a win for Perry, who will be heading into Iowa tomorrow.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Terrye says:

    Paul and Bachmann..I could not vote for either one of them. I do think Iowa is over rated..in terms of politics anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  2. While there will be real world effects (such as the mentioned fundraising issue), it is astounding to me that a process wherein in the voters pay to vote is taken seriously at all. (and yes, in many cases the campaigns pick up the tab, but still).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Well, duhhhhh…. She is wearing gray and the rest of those stupid mf’ers are wearing black.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Eric Florack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor

    : it is astounding to me that a process wherein in the voters pay to vote is taken seriously at all.

    Why should this be any less evidence of popular support man, let’s say, the result of fund raising efforts by the individual candidates?

    I agree that the measurement in the case of Iowa is less than direct, particularly when one considers that the connection between such Iowa test-beds and the party establishment is fairly direct in most cases.

    But even that, has a story to tell. With the exception of Santorum, who among the vote leaders in Iowa could be considered GOP establishment?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. michael reynolds says:

    I feel a Thad wave building.

    Thad! Thad! Thad!

    Come on, people, join in!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  6. Gustopher says:

    So, Bachmann is the only one that passes the Ron Paul Line of Irrelevance. Perry didn’t compete, so he gets a pass.

    Can we at least acknowledge that the rest don’t matter? I think the race is now down to “what genitals do you want with your crazy?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  7. @Eric Florack: Well, actually, fundraising from individuals would be a better overall measure of popular support. The straw poll is really more a measure of organization (and, of the pocketbooks of the candidates, not of the participants).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. john personna says:

    Iowa, oh Iowa. You actually voted the default ticket.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. jan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    it is astounding to me that a process wherein in the voters pay to vote is taken seriously at all.

    It’s a symbolic kick-off event for the GOP. The winner gets to glow a bit, that’s all. It seems that every election this straw vote seems more rigged (ie. Ron Paul & Bachmann) than really signifying who or what the voters really want.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  10. Michael says:

    The gap between Bachmann and Paul was just 152 votes

    Pawlenty trailed Bachmann by 2,350 votes and Paul by 2,378 votes

    Something isn’t adding up here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. PJ says:

    @Michael:
    The 3 and the 5 in 2,530 got switched.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. sam says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The straw poll is really more a measure of organization (and, of the pocketbooks of the candidates, not of the participants).

    From the clips I saw, it looked to me that whoever laid out the best food spread had the better of the moment. Man, that was some good looking grub. I can forgive those folks a whole lot of their craziness on that basis….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Catfish says:

    Where’s Jeb?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Hey Norm says:

    Michele Bachmann…the future of the GOP is so bright I have to wear shades.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  15. gVOR08 says:

    Cain is staying in because he’s really running for VP. He thinks that Romney, or whoever, will see the supposedly overwhelming logic of having a black guy on the ticket against Obama.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. The straw poll is useless for determining who should be nominee, but it is useful for determining who should be running. In part because it is so easy to rig, if you can’t get a reasonable showing you don’t have the organization and money to run a nationwide campaign. While I think Bachmann would be a terrible president, it’s obvious she has the resources in place to make a credible run. Likewise it’s obvious Newt Gingrich is just dicking around out on the campaign trail.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. @Stormy Dragon: Yes, but I think that both things were already known before the straw poll (esp. the part about Newt).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. ProfBob says:

    The libertarian idea is based on freedom. But as most political philosophers know, freedom and equality are mutually exclusive. While both want “equality of opportunity” those who want freedom want to stop there and let people run their economic race. Those who want equality want to level those who did not do well in the race–whether because of genetics, laziness or a lack of preparation and education. An interesting prediction of a society that is libertarian is found in Book 9 of the free e-book series that deals with many of our world’s social problems “And Gulliver Returns”–In Search of Utopia– at http://amdgulliverreturns.info. If nothing else, it makes us think about both liberty and equality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  19. Rob in CT says:

    whether because of genetics, laziness or a lack of preparation and education

    Unsurprisingly, you’ve left out some options for why someone may have fallen behind.

    If we really lived in a country wherein the people who got ahead did so because of ability, effort, [insert more virtues here] alone, and people who failed did so because of the lack of those things alone, then I think libertarianism would be a fine ideology (with flaws still, because even if the failures all screwed up, you still probably have to deal with them in some way), and would likely have majority support. We do not live in such a place, however. Not even close.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. LibCon says:

    “The biggest surprise of the Straw Poll is the fact that Rick Perry, who hasn’t spent a single day as a candidate in Iowa and who just announced his candidacy this afternoon, got more votes as a write-in candidate than Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, and Thad McCotter. There were reports all week that a Pro-Perry SuperPAC was on the ground helping organize a write-in campaign. Apparently, they succeeded very nicely. I’d count that as a win for Perry, who will be heading into Iowa tomorrow.”

    Actually, it isn’t a surprise, because most of those write-ins were more than likely for Rick Parry. With an A, for America, with an A for IowA. http://bit.ly/nuFLAb

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. NadePaulKuciGravMcKi says:

    It sure did not seem like a photo-finish to the people on the ground.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0