The Ames Straw Poll in Iowa doesn't tell us who is going to win the Republican nomination for President in 2012, but is read by the media as an important first shot in the process. However, given Iowa's less than graceful record at actually picking the eventual nominee, as pointed out in my previous post Caucus in the Corn available in the June archives, how much stock should we put in the results of last nights straw poll won by Michelle Bachman, with Ron Paul, and Tim Pawlenty in second and third respectively? Given that Mitt Romney didn’t really campaign and Rick Perry and Sarah Palin are either just entering the race or undecided, I’m not really sure it does much other than give political junkies something to talk about.
What the Iowa straw poll can do is end campaigns as mentioned by many news outlets last night. But given the current crop (no pun intended.) of Republican candidates would anyone be surprised, if say, the campaigns of Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, or Herman Cain ended given their regional and/or marginal appeal throughout the Republican electorate? The takeaway: The top three Bachmann, Paul, Pawlenty have support on August 14th of 2011, but the Caucus is months away yet, and as we know political fortunes can change in a moments notice…FMR. Vermont Governor Howard Deans’ state screaming rodeo of 2004 comes to mind. So don’t hang the entire race upon one informal poll.