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Iowa Straw Poll Results

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The much-hyped Iowa Straw Poll finally took place tonight, and the results are in. As expected, Mitt Romney was the victor. Of course, with top-tier candidates like Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Fred Thompson refusing to participate, anything less than a solid first-place finish would have been devastating to the Romney candidacy.

Anyway, here are the complete results, along with my commentary:

1. Mitt Romney – 4516 votes – 31%

This is roughly the same percentage George W. Bush got in 1999. And we all know what happened after that: the momentum from his victory here helped secure Dubya’s place as the front-runner for the GOP nomination, and he of course became the eventual nominee. The Romney camp is probably somewhat disappointed that they didn’t get a higher percentage, but they still won by a comfortable margin. Romney has the “big-mo” now. Let’s see if he can keep it.

2. Mike Huckabee – 2587 votes – 18.1%

This was somewhat surprising. Huckabee was expected to do relatively well here, but not to grab second-place, garnering nearly one-in-five votes cast. This result could easily propel the former Arkansas Governor to top-tier status among the GOP candidates. And he is certainly a credible candidate: over ten years experience as a Governor; he’s a Southerner; he’s somewhat telegenic, and a good speaker who gives off a positive vibe; he is an ordained Protestant Minister; and he has a great personal story, being born in Hope, Arkansas (sound familiar?) and losing over 100 pounds while becoming a major advocate for healthy living. Keep your eye on this guy.

3. Sam Brownback – 2192 votes – 15.3%

Yeah, you could say that it’s a respectable third-place showing, but Brownback is done. Let’s just take a look at the facts. He’s from Kansas, which is practically on Iowa’s border. He’s probably the most socially-conservative candidate of the bunch (and social conservatives are a huge constituency in Iowa, especially at events like this that draw mostly activists). He’s been visiting Iowa constantly for several months now, and he’s been fund-raising for this campaign for almost a year (I should know – I’ve probably gotten a dozen pleas for cash from this guy since 2006). He even vastly outspent Huckabee here. And yet he still came in third (and not terribly far from fourth). Brownback will withdraw from the race sometime in the near future – mark my words.

4. Tom Tancredo – 1961 votes – 13.7%

Heh. This is a strong showing for a “fringe” candidate, but it won’t do Tancredo any good. He still won’t get the nomination, because he’s too far to the right, and he’s also a terrible public speaker. And he isn’t a viable potential running-mate for whoever does win the nomination, for those same exact reasons. This fairly strong showing is just a way for Iowans to voice their disgust with illegal immigration. And, seeing as how Iowa is pretty damn far away of the Mexican border, I believe this is a strong indication that illegal immigration will continue to be a very important issue throughout the remainder of this campaign.

5. Ron Paul – 1305 votes – 9.1%

Wow. He’s not polling under 1% anymore, now is he? Everyone is just going to have to come to terms with the fact that Ron Paul really does have a significant base of support, as evidenced by his impressive fund-raising and his strong online presence. He won’t win the nomination, of course, but I do expect him to be the last candidate to concede, and to give one helluva interesting speech at the GOP Convention (assuming they let him come within 100 meters of a microphone).

6. Tommy Thompson – 1,009 votes – 7.3%

You gotta feel bad for Tommy, the other Thompson. Here’s a guy who was elected Governor of Wisconsin (a state that borders Iowa) four times, and made it a point to visit every single one of Iowa’s 99 counties. But he still came in sixth. He had recently declared that he would drop out of the race if he didn’t come in first or second. Well, he didn’t, so goodbye Tommy. Maybe if you’re lucky, the next President will be a fellow Republican, and he’ll offer you the ambassadorship to Angola or something.

7. Fred Thomson with 231 votes

Of the “big three” GOP candidates who didn’t bother to contest the Iowa Straw Poll, Fred Thompson came in first. For whatever that’s worth.

8. Rudy Giuliani with 183 votes

An utterly meaningless result because he didn’t contest this poll.

9. Duncan Hunter with 174 votes

This has to be disappointing. Duncan Hunter is smart, conservative, experienced, a good public speaker, and fairly telegenic. Yet he gets humiliated with a result like this. I expect him to drop out of the race sometime before the Iowa Caucuses, though perhaps not immediately.

10. John McCain with 101 votes

Sad. Simply pathetic. The guy who was presumed to be the GOP front-runner not all that long ago comes in last (I’m not counting #11, and neither should you). Of course, McCain didn’t bother to contest this poll, but that’s mostly because his campaign is flat broke and his poll numbers are in the toilet. His only hope is another New Hampshire miracle. But it isn’t going to happen this time around.

11. John Cox with 41 votes

A complete non-entity. The only thing I can conclude from this result is that apparently Mr. Cox has 41 relatives who are registered voters in Iowa.

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About RJ

  • Jason

    I don’t think you can draw the same parallels between Romney’s win and Bush’s. Bush got about 3000 more votes than Romney did (suggesting the Iowa Republicans are lukewarm about their choices), and that was with all the top-tier candidates in. Romney could only get 31% against a field made up mainly of the second- and third-tier candidates.

    He still may be able to spin this as a decisive win, but it puts a crimp in the aura of inevitability he’s trying to establish, and I’d bet his campaign is privately concerned they couldn’t crack 40% against this field.

    Agreed Tommy Thompson is done (his campaign says they’re making an announcement in 48 hours, which sounds to me like they’re making the arrangements to shut it down). Hunter is probably toast, as he’s been running on immigration also only to see Tancredo obliterate him. Might still make it to the caucuses but no further.

    McCain doesn’t just need a New Hampshire miracle, he almost needs a miracle in the next month or so just to show he’s still viable.

  • Carson

    I am proud to be an American when I see the way the straw poll seemed to cut through some of the hype created by the media in favor of the over financed candidates.

    Back about 1915 or so we had a politician named Woodrow Wilson that accepted a bribe to create the Federal Reserve. They were a group of very powerful bankers and businessmen from around the world at the time. Through the monopoly of being the source of our money and by being outside of our government, or paying any taxes, they have built up a fortune that, I believe, includes owning most of the politicians of the world.

    It is going to take a determined, We the People, to restore law and order in our government before we can restore law and order in our once great nation.

    “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world. No longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”

    -Woodrow Wilson

  • http://www.thechurchofanswers.com Heloise

    Just check Heloise’s checklist on “George and the GOP.” It predicted and I have been predicting that Romney (with his 6 letters) would be the GOP nominee, rather than Guiliani (who is the national frontrunner). Also, my checklist ensured that the best looking candidate and the ones with the most checks would win the straw poll and the caucus, which may be in December.

  • ToughGuy

    “18.1% This was somewhat surprising. Huckabee was expected to do relatively well here, but not to grab second-place, garnering nearly one-in-five votes cast.”

    18.1 is closer to “one in six” (18.1 – 16.67 = 1.43) than it is to “one in five” (20.0 – 18.1 = 1.9).

    I am smart, QED

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    You guys seem to be forgetting that the straw poll means even less than the polls appearing in newspapers and on the cable news networks. I do think it’s slightly more valid than internet polls, though.

    Dave

  • Luke

    It looks like time and endless ammounts of money really do pay off. I’m glad to hear Ron Paul got a decent percentage of the votes, given that he is the only Republican candidate out there who I’d even consider voting for.

  • http://www.rlcfl.org Philip Blumel

    This is the best short analysis of the Straw Poll that I have seen. As you suggest, the real winners of this poll were Huckabee and Paul, no doubt about it. Romney showed he deserves to be considered top tier, but that is a status quo position. Huckabee and Paul moved up a notch or two or three.

  • Baronius

    Romney has got to feel good about these results. He passed the first real test, getting a group of people to vote for the Mormon for President. All the looks and buzz don’t matter if people won’t vote for you. Apparently, they’ll vote for Romney.

    Huckabee’s second place looks good, until you look at the gang of misfits he beat. I mean, really, do you walk away from a victory over Tancredo feeling presidential? But I like the advice to “keep your eye on this guy”. He’s positioned himself to make the jump into the first tier.

    I don’t see McCain dropping out any time soon. He’s the Republican Obama, with national press sending him flowers and love poems every day. He can get more camera time without money than the other candidates could buy.

  • Egbert Sousé

    “This is roughly the same percentage George W. Bush got in 1999. And we all know what happened after that:”

    Is the answer “worst president ever”?

    I have to agree that the win isn’t that impressive, but we’ll have to see how it gets spun. I am surprised Newt didn’t get any, and I don’t think Paul is going to get any network TV time.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    a few things…

    the turn out of people for the straw poll was less than half of what it was in 99 for the 00 race…this would tend to indicate much less motivation on the part of Iowa caucus goers

    the straw poll costs $35 per head to vote in, and campaigns routinely pay the fee to get votes…added to that the “paid” volunteers and the buses paid by the campaign and the Romney votes don’t look anywhere near as promising as some would like to trumpet…

    it should show Tommy Thompson, Tancredo, Duncan Hunter and Cox that it’s time for them to bow out…we will see if ego allows it before more good money is thrown after bad…

    just some Thoughts…

    Excelsior?

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “the turn out of people for the straw poll was less than half of what it was in 99 for the 00 race”

    In 1999, 23,685 people voted in the Iowa Straw Poll (a record high). Last night, 14,302 people voted in the Iowa Straw Poll. 14,302 is indeed less than 23,685, but it is not “less than half” – it’s closer to 60%.

    SOURCE

    “it should show Tommy Thompson, Tancredo, Duncan Hunter and Cox that it’s time for them to bow out”

    Thompson, yes. Hunter, probably. And Cox shouldn’t even be running.

    But why should Tancredo drop out at this point? Fourth place and almost 14% of the vote in a contest very far away from his home state is quite an impressive showing. Especially for a guy who was polling about 1-2% nationally, and was given almost no media coverage outside of talk radio, except for the occasion passing mention of him in the MSM as a “controversial far-right one-issue long-shot candidate with a divisive political agenda” or words to that effect…

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    Re #2:

    Carson:

    What is your source for stating that Wilson accepted a bribe to create the Federal Reserve?

    Was Congress bribed too?

    What bankers and businessmen were involved?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Perhaps he thinks that when Jay Gould gave the government a $64 million no-interest loan to cover the budget deficit that was some sort of bribe.

    I’d also like to see a source for that quote from Wilson. It sounds extremely atypical.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    It only took a tiny bit of research. The quote is spurious. Part of it is something Wilson actually said but the first two sentences are fraudulent. He was not, in fact, talking about the federal reserve, but about the oligarchic character of government in general.

    For some explanation of the bogus quote see WikiQuote.

    Dave

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Tommy Thompson is finished (as I predicted).

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    for RJ in #11 – my bad, i had thought it was closer to 30k in ’99, from an MSNBC report…

    but still…little more than half by your numbers…and the top 3 Contenders did not contest the field, whereas in ’99 only one was missing…if Memory serves

    from what i heard on Meet the Press, Huckabee is the surprise of the day, getting more Votes than tickets he paid for, running no ads in Iowa, with one negative ad ran against him by the Family Council…that’s impressive and would make one wonder if he didn’t do really well in the last debate among some mid-western voters…will be interesting to see how his national numbers do in a week or three

    for Tancredo…poor showing in a place he really needed to hit 20% or better on in order to even dream of getting some $$$ rolling into the campaign…if he doesn’t pull 2nd or third in both Iowa and NH he’s a lost Cause(i think he is anyway)

    just the way i See it right now

    (for RJ – great Anecdote!)

    Excelsior?

  • Clavos

    “for Tancredo…poor showing in a place he really needed to hit 20% or better on in order to even dream of getting some $$$ rolling into the campaign…if he doesn’t pull 2nd or third in both Iowa and NH he’s a lost Cause(i think he is anyway)”

    As well he should be, bigoted SOB that he is.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    lol…now now, Clavos..don’t hold back, tell us how you really feel about him…

    i’m not making Value judgments about any of the Candidates at this point…just keeping an Eye on the rat races…

    Huckabee is a tough call, he didn’t hit that 20% number either, but he came damn close with very little investment…like i said, watch this guys numbers in the next month or two…he pulls an actual second place in the real Caucus, the top tier should be pooping cinder blocks…

    Excelsior?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    You know, Huckabee is very personable and has some interesting, moderate ideas. What bugs me about him is that he seems to be so religiously extreme. Wasn’t he one of the three who raised their hands in favor of creationism?

    But I’m with Clavos on Tancredo. Despite very good positions on taxes and social security and other issues, he’s both a racist fool and a fortress america ubersecurity nut.

    Dave

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Epic link, gonzo. Thanks. :)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    (was that the BEST Lone Ranger story in my link, or what?)

    heh

    Excelsior?

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “What bugs me about him is that he seems to be so religiously extreme.”

    I don’t know that he’s “extreme” in his religion, but he is an ordained minister, so I believe it’s reasonable to expect him to talk quite a bit about God and religion.

  • Clavos

    Mos’ scocious link, gonz!!

    (Would have loved to have seen that guy’s face when the LR came out of the car!)

  • http://www.libertyrepublican.com Dave Nalle

    I don’t know that he’s “extreme” in his religion, but he is an ordained minister, so I believe it’s reasonable to expect him to talk quite a bit about God and religion.

    RJ, that’s really not what I’m looking for in a president.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Romney’s spin is that the leading candidates who didn’t deign to compete didn’t do so because they took one look at his various “platforms” (?) and were SOOOO intimidated they decided not to run against him. !?!?!?! Now THAT is hubris.

  • http://spewker.blogspot.com The Spewker

    Nice analysis. But don’t count Tancredo or Paul out of the running just yet. Romney spent way too much money and did too much family stumping to earn an impressive first place finish. I concede the momentum goes to Huckabee, but I can’t see a Baptist minister as the nominee. Thompson, Hunter, and Cox are done. Perhaps now the FredHeads can convince their Thompson to join the fray. Don’t be surprised if Newt Gingrich jumps in as well. He was there in Iowa, disguised as a concerned “citizen.”

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Ron Paul wins New Hampshire Straw Poll:

    Paul – 208
    Romney – 26
    Huckabee – 20
    Tancredo – 8
    McCain – 7
    Cox – 5
    Hunter – 5
    F. Thompson – 3
    Giuliani – 3
    Brownback – 1

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Ron Paul wins Alabama Straw Poll:

    Tom Tancredo – 0 (0.00%)
    Sam Brownback – 2 (0.75%)
    John McCain – 2 (0.75%)
    Mike Huckabee – 6 (2%)
    Rudy Giuliani – 7 (3%)
    Fred Thompson – 9 (3%)
    Duncan Hunter – 10 (4%)
    Mitt Romney – 14 (5%)
    Ron Paul – 216 (81%)

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Romney wins Illinois Straw Poll:

    Mitt Romney (40.35%)

    Fred Thompson (19.96%)

    Dr. Ron Paul (18.87%)

    Giuliani (11.61%)

    McCain (4.12%)

    Huckabee (3.04%)

    Brownback (1.08%)

    Hunter (0.65%)

    Tancredo (0.33%)

  • Dr Dreadful

    H’m.

    But what exactly are these straw polls, who votes in them and how much significance should we read into them, especially this long before the primaries start?

    (Although if the states keep on with their ridiculous “me first” oneupmanship, the first primary could be tomorrow at this rate!)

  • Wisconsin Dem

    Hello,

    Just to clarify: yes, I am a Democrat, but the best thing for all of us is to have an intelligent, open, communicative process that involves people from both sides. The best thing for all of us is to have a legitimate race in which we ask the question “who would be a better president?” not “who would be worse?”

    I just wanted to offer a few rebuttal points here.

    To Carson:

    “I am proud to be an American when I see the way the straw poll seemed to cut through some of the hype created by the media in favor of the over financed candidates.”

    Really? Romney spent about 5 million getting supporters to and at this straw poll. The other “over[-]financed candidates” didn’t participate.

    The thing about Iowans is that they are a ridiculously over-privileged group of early voters who are more than willing to punish candidates for not participating in their polls.

    That said, 3 out of the 4 Republican front-runners (that would be 4 out of the 5 if you count the current leader in Republican polls: “None of the above”) didn’t participate which immediately negates the legitimacy of the entire thing for the reason I mentioned in the last paragraph. The Iowan voters were punishing those candidates who chose not to participate. This was a great opportunity for the second- and third-tier candidates to appear as if they have some weight in this primary, but it won’t last. The front-runners will all be in Iowa for the caucuses.

    to RJ:

    “why should Tancredo drop out at this point?”

    I think just mentioning one exchange featuring Tancredo should be enough to make my point:

    “‘Well, what if you said something like — if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites,’ Tancredo answered.

    ‘You’re talking about bombing Mecca,’ Campbell said.

    ‘Yeah,’ Tancredo responded.”

    I think his 14% alone should completely negate the results of this poll. The guy actually said he would bomb Mecca, the holiest site of the world’s most populous religion, because of the threat of fringe activists who represent a smaller percentage of their religion than the KKK does of Christianity. If Tancredo thinks this is a legitimate way to deter terrorists, I don’t want him anywhere near a position to make any decision… ever.

    Again to RJ:

    “Well, he didn’t, so goodbye Tommy. Maybe if you’re lucky, the next President will be a fellow Republican, and he’ll offer you the ambassadorship to Angola or something.”

    As much as I dislike Tommy Thompson (even though I am a Wisconsinite) he was made Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Bush administration and left before the approval rating started plummeting, so I don’t think it would be unreasonable to expect that he’d get a better position in a new Republican administration than “[ambassador] to Angola or something.”

    That’s all from me. Later!

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “Brownback will withdraw from the race sometime in the near future – mark my words.”

    I win.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Not sure what you win for that. Not like there ws any change he wasn’t going to withdraw at some point soon.

    Now we just need to flush Tancredo and Hunter and get down to business.

    dave

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Well…it was always obvious he wasn’t going to win the nomination…but I was correct that his departure would come “soon” – as in, before the Primaries even began…

    I think Hunter and Tancredo will stick around for at least a couple of state’s Primaries…actually, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Tancredo was one of the last candidates to drop out…

  • JJ

    Only reason Mitt Romney got anywhere was because all the mormans in the state showed up.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Six months ago, I wrote:

    Mike Huckabee: “This result could easily propel the former Arkansas Governor to top-tier status among the GOP candidates. … Keep your eye on this guy.” Pretty good. 9/10

    Ron Paul: “Ron Paul really does have a significant base of support, as evidenced by his impressive fund-raising and his strong online presence. He won’t win the nomination, of course, but I do expect him to be the last candidate to concede …” Again, good. 8/10

    John McCain: “His only hope is another New Hampshire miracle. But it isn’t going to happen this time around.” OOPS! 2/10

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Okay, so it’s McCain.

    Paul is the only other candidate still in the race, although he’s obviously not a factor at this point.

    Question: Who will McCain pick as his running mate? I think Romney would be a good choice, as it would largely appease conservatives who are skeptical of McCain. Such a pick would also bring to the ticket someone with executive and business experience, as well as someone who is a pretty good speaker and rather telegenic (and relatively more youthful). Unfortunately, McCain seems to hate Romney, so this is unlikely.

    Is Lieberman an option? That might help to win over independents and Democrats, but could further alienate conservative Republicans. It would be an interesting pick, but I doubt it will happen. (Maybe Secretary of Defense, though.)

    Colin Powell would also be an interesting pick, although I suspect Powell wants nothing to do with electoral politics at this point.

    Thoughts, comments? I’m all ears.

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