AMES, Iowa (Reuters) - Michele Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll on Saturday in the first big test of the 2012 Republican presidential race, as Texas Governor Rick Perry launched a White House bid that could reshape the race.
How important is winning the straw poll? I don't really like wikipedia as a source, but this looks legit.
1979 - Winner is George HW Bush. 1980 nominee - Ronald Reagan.
1987 - Pat Robertson won. George HW Bush nominee. Bush finished 3rd. Bob Dole finished 2nd.
1995 - Bob Dole and Phil Gramm tied. Dole was nominee. Gramm dropped out early after losing Louisiana to Pat Buchanan.
1999 - George W Bush won. Bush was nominee.
2007 - Mitt Romney won. McCain was nominee. McCain finished 10th, while skipping the event.
In other words, it's historically important to place, if not necessarily win. Here's the results.
|6||Rick Perry (write-in)||718||4.3%|
According to National Review those competing in the Ames poll are Bachmann, Pawlenty, Paul, Cain, McCotter and Santorum. Romney, Huntsman, and Gingrich wern't competing as hard. Perry just announced. Palin isn't in, and probably got most of those 162 votes. McCotter was not allowed in the debate.
My analysis and two cents on this.
Bachmann - She won it. She's on the map. She worked hard in Iowa and finished first. She is Iowa born, and that could have helped.
Paul - He's back. With the fiscal clustermuck, I think more conservatives that are less isolationist than he is will look at him more closely. Historically, there's always been a strong minority of republicans who are isolationist and more who are non-interventionist. I think it'll get stronger again as someone takes Pat Buchanan's old role. Ron Paul is becoming that face.
Rick Perry - He did the best by far of those skipping the race. He beat Mitt, who won this last time. He almost doubled Newt, and dwarfed McCotter and Huntsman. His 6th place finish was based solely on write-in votes. This is a good start for Perry.
McCotter - I like Thad McCotter He's a good guy. I also think he should have run for senate instead. McCotter was locked out of the debate, so this isn't all his fault. However, 35 votes out of about 17000? He probably met more people than 35 in Iowa.
Huntsman - He can recover because he's a multi-millionaire many times over. This still isn't a good showing, even skipping the race. He'll have to make a big move in New Hampshire, McCain 08 style to have a shot.
Santorum - Santorum did better than I expected finishing 4th. The problem he has is that much of the same group that would vote for him would also vote for Bachmann. You won't out pro-life Santorum, but Bachmann can match Santorum in this area, both in stance and intensity.
Cain - I somewhat hesitate to put Cain here, but he finished behind most of the rest who competed strong in Ames. I think he'll survive this, but he'll have to make a move quick or he'll be just the protest vote candidate of 2012 of those who don't like the rest of the crowd. I think Ron Paul is hurting Cain. I like Cain, but his election history is his weak point. He finished 2nd in his one major statewide primary race in Georgia.
Newt Gingrich - Finished behind Romney and Perry and had probably close to 100% name recognition despite skipping the race.
Too Early to Tell:
Pawlenty. Was 3rd place enough? He got less than 1/2 of the votes of his fellow Minnesotan, but they were aimed at different crowds. I'm not ready to write off this campaign yet, but Pawlenty is going to have to make a move. He's going to have to dent Romney a bit and get a lot of the folks that would otherwise vote for him look at Pawlenty.
Romney - He announced he was skipping early on. He finished 7th, ahead of most who skipped the race, except Perry. Perry's votes were write in.
Who is going to drop? That's the most important fallout that happens due to Ames straw poll results. McCain stayed in despite 10th out of 11th in 07 and won nomination. He was in the same shoes Romney is now with a 2nd place finish in the last primary overall looking for another shot. Tommy Thompson finished 6th and dropped early due to the 07 performance. The field's starting to narrow some. The question is by how much.