Ames Straw Poll More Meaningless than Ever
As expected, given that none of the other serious candidates bothered to campaign, Mitt Romney won the Ames, Iowa straw poll. Surprisingly, the runners up were people with no more chance of getting the Republican nomination than you or I.
- 1. Romney: 4516 (31.5)
2. Huckabee: 2587 (18.1)
3. Brownback: 2192 (15.3)
4. Tancredo: 1961 (13.7)
5. Paul: 1305 (9.1)
6. T. Thompson: 1039 (7.3)
7. F. Thompson: 203 (1.4)
8. Giuliani: 183 (1.3)
9. Hunter: 174 (1.2)
10. McCain: 101 (1)
11. Cox: 41 (.1)
14,302 ballots cast
Historically, the contest has been meaningless, despite the fact that it garners significant media attention. As Dan Balz and Michael D. Shear note on their front page story in today’s Washington Post,
Romney’s victory came against a relatively weak field that did not include Giuliani, Sen. John McCain of Arizona or former senator Fred D. Thompson of Tennessee, and after he heavily outspent those who did compete. Still, the result, with Romney easily outpacing his rivals with 32 percent of the vote, helps elevate him from relative obscurity six months ago to the top tier of the GOP field — despite his relatively low standing in national polls.
Their story is accompanied by the graphic at right. Winning the straw poll has little correlation with getting the nomination and minor candidates often do extraordinarily well. It’s a test of how many people the campaign can pay to bus in to participate, not support.
It’s not inconceivable that Mitt Romney will win the nomination, certainly. But I guarantee that Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Fred Thompson will finish with more delegates than Mike Huckabee, Tom Tancredo, and even Ron Paul.
John Cox, however, will get less than one percent of the delegates. Stopped clocks and all that.