Bachmann Wins Ames
Well, for what it’s worth (more on that below the fold), Michele Bachmann has won the Ames Straw Poll.
Rep. Michele Bachmann won the Iowa Straw Poll Saturday, affirming her status as a top-tier candidate in the Republican race to challenge President Obama in 2012.
Bachmann received 28 percent of the nearly 17,000 votes cast. Texas Rep. Ron Paul was close behind her with 27 percent. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty came in a distant third with 13 percent of the vote, followed by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum with 9 percent and businessman Herman Cain with 8 percent.
So why do I say “for what it’s worth”? There are a few reasons:
- It is, after all, a straw poll. These are not necessarily people who are going to vote, or are even registered to vote. I’m honestly not sure about the rules of Ames, but many straw polls also allow people to cast multiple ballots, which makes them even more questionable as a predictive poll.
- There was no attempt made to keep non-Republicans from voting, as far as I can tell. This allows Democrats to come in and pull an “Operation Chaos” sort of maneuver, voting for the candidate they think Obama could beat the easiest.
- It’s more than a year before most non-political wonks really start paying attention to politics, which is generally Labor Day to the first Tuesday in November in even-numbered years. There are a lot of things that can happen between now and then.
- History shows that the Ames Straw Poll leaves much to be desired as a predictor of the upcoming election. In 2008, Mitt Romney won it handily, and John McCain didn’t even attend. We all know how that worked out for Romney and McCain.
In short, I’m not impressed with the Straw Poll, and find all the hype about it overblown… kinda like all the hype about, say, Michael Jackson, or Alex Rodriguez.