Ames Straw Poll

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

So what do we make of the Republican field after the Ames Straw Poll? It’s a good question, but there are a couple of factors that need to play out; including decisions by Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani, both of whom could change the face of the race.

I’ve been waiting for Ames to come and go since I anticipated the landscape to change, and it did with Tim Pawlenty’s exit (though I expected Rick Santorum to be out the door first) so I could give some power rankings for the candidates; something I hope to do at least every two weeks from now until the end.

Mitt Romney (even): As far as it goes, Romney is the guy to beat right now. Yes, he is going to have some problems to contend, including continued hits on RomneyCare and frequent position changes. He is, however, the establishment’s candidate. Romney also needs to be careful what he says on the trail, at least limit his points to easily explainable soundbytes. In other words, don’t say “corporations are people,” an accurate statement, but needs explaining to make sense.

Rick Perry (up): I’ve already touched on Perry’s campaign today, so I’ll be brief here. Electability in a general election are a question, but there is little doubt that Perry brings a formidable challenge to Romney’s bid for the presidency.

What Would USA Today Say about Howard Dean’s Performance in Iowa?

As Jason noted earlier, the results are in — Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has handily taken top honors in the 2011 Ames Straw Poll, edging out Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and obliterating former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. Bachmann became the first woman in history to win the straw poll in the home of America’s first caucus, according to the National Journal.

Aside from the various problems with straw polls in a general sense, and how poorly the Ames Straw Poll serves as an indicator of eventual primary winners (note: the CPAC straw poll has the same problem), what does this really mean? Probably not much at all.

But that hasn’t stopped the editorial board at USA Today from getting their digs in while they can.

They editorialize, opining the attention “fringe candidates” receive in Iowa:


Of the candidates actively participating this year, only Pawlenty has any kind of background of centrism, and he has taken a right turn since announcing his candidacy. Much of the attention will be on Bachmann, who has been doing well in recent Iowa polls, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the darling of libertarians.

Michele Bachmann wins the Ames Straw Poll

The results are in from the Ames Straw Poll, where several thousand Republicans cast ballots for their favorite GOP candidate. The results may be somewhat surprising given how in the run up to the poll many observers seemed to be writing it off and debating whether it meant anything since Ron Paul seemed to be poised for a strong showing and Mitt Romney had not paid much attention to Iowa.

Well, he had a strong showing, but finished 152 votes behind Michele Bachmann, an Iowa native, in arguably the most important event in the GOP race thus far.

  • Michele Bachmann: 28.55% (4823 votes)
  • Ron Paul: 27.65% (4671 votes)
  • Tim Pawlenty: 13.57% (2293 votes)
  • Rick Santorum: 9.81% (1657 votes)
  • Herman Cain: 8.62% (1456 votes)
  • Rick Perry: 3.62% (718 votes) write-in
  • Mitt Romney: 3.36% (567 votes)
  • Newt Gingrich: 2.28% (385 votes)
  • Jon Huntsman: 0.41% (69 votes)
  • Thad McCotter: 0.21% (35 votes)
  • Other: 0.96% (162 votes)

The results are obviously good news for Bachmann. Paul’s showing was still very strong, despite finishing second. Pawlenty built off of a better debate performance on Thursday to finish third. Santorum finished ahead of Cain, who is effectively a non-factor in the race at this point.

Michele Bachmann suspends campaign

If you listened to his speech last night, Rick Perry initially spoke as though he was gong to press forward. But, as noted this morning, Perry changed his tone during the speech, deciding that he was headed back to Texas today to determine what his next step is in the race.

But the message has already been sent. Perry was scheduled to be in South Carolina today campaigning for a primary that takes place in just three weeks. Perry is done, as we knew he would be, even if he decides to press forward.

Michele Bachmann, however, seemed to be in denial last evening, at least publicly. After winning the Ames Straw Poll in August, Bachmann placed next to last; an embarrassing finish for someone who invested a lot of time in Iowa. That defiant tone didn’t carry over into this morning. Bachmann’s team scheduled a press conference this morning where she announced the decision to suspend her campaign:

In the wake of a disappointing finish in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses, Rep. Michele Bachmann announced Wednesday that she is suspending her campaign for president.

“Last night, the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, and so I have decided to stand aside,” she said at a hastily-arranged news conference here.

“I have no regrets,” she added. “None whatsoever. We never compromised our principles.” She said she “looks forward to the next chapter in God’s plan.”

Bachmann did not endorse another candidate.

I would imagine that many of Bachmann’s backers will flock to Rick Santorum. Her numbers weren’t substantial, national polls showed her in single-digits, a boost in his polling as a result of her dropping out won’t be much, though Santorum will still receive a small bump over all.

By marginalizing other candidates, MSM is forcing Perry and Romney on voters

MSNBC had a debate last week.  The featured players were clearly Mitt Romney and new frontrunner Rick Perry.  Michele Bachmann, who had been catapulted to “frontrunner status” after her win in the Aimes Straw Poll suddenly felt shut out.  Welcome to the world where the media tells us who to vote for.

OK, that might be just a tad cynical, but it’s not that far from the truth.  For example, Michele Bachmann received tons of press after her Aimes win, while Ron Paul’s second place finish barely got a mention.  The result?  A huge bump for Bachmann.  Now that bump is starting to slide as much of her base eases over to Perry, who the press immediately gave lots of time to.

I’m not the only one who’s noticed either.  For example, the New York Times seems to be seeing it as well, though they don’t necessarily disagree with the practice.

Mrs. Bachmann won the first important test of the Republican race in a straw poll in Iowa last month, but she has been upstaged ever since by the entrance of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas into the race.

She was uncharacteristically restrained at a debate last week in California while Mr. Perry and Mitt Romney tore into each other as if they were the only two candidates on stage. Moderators from MSNBC and Politico played into the storyline by returning to them repeatedly and giving each ample time to rebut the other. It was not until 14 minutes in that Mrs. Bachmann got to speak.

When they focus on these so-called “major players”, they give the impression that they’re the only real players.  Instead, if they gave equal time to all candidates, then the people of the United States of America could easily make up their own minds.  Unfortunately, that’s just not going to happen.

Rasmussen: Perry leads in Iowa

Rassmussen released a new survey out of Iowa on Friday, their first since the Ames Straw Poll, showing Texas Gov. Rick Perry with a double-digit lead over Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

  • Rick Perry: 29%
  • Michele Bachmann: 18%
  • Mitt Romney: 17%
  • Ron Paul: 14%

According to Rasmussen, nobody else in the race polled above 5% (that info is behind a paywall and I’m reluctant to share it here), so it’s a four person race; including Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Bachmann and Romney were at 22% and 21%, respectively, in the last Rasmussen poll out of Iowa. Paul was at 16%. But there has been a shakeup in the race since then as Perry has jumped in (he polled at 12% in the last Rasmussen poll) and Tim Pawlenty has dropped out (he was at 11%).

New national numbers released in GOP presidential race

Polls have been flying out like crazy since Rick Perry got into the race for the Republican nomination for president. Gallup and Public Policy Polling have released numbers pairing several different Republicans against President Barack Obama. We also got our first look at post-Ames numbers out of Iowa.

Rasmussen was the first to post numbers showing that Perry had jumped ahead of Romney, but one poll isn’t definitive. But Gallup and Public Policy Polling released new national numbers yesterday in the Republican field showing that Rick Perry is, for all intents and purposes, the new frontrunner.

Here’s the poll from Gallup:

  • Rick Perry: 29%
  • Mitt Romney: 17%
  • Ron Paul: 13%
  • Michele Bachmann: 10%
  • Herman Cain: 4%
  • Newt Gingrich: 4%
  • Rick Santorum: 3%
  • Jon Huntsman: 1%
  • Other: 2%
  • No preference: 17%

Public Policy Polling has somewhat different results. Unlike Gallup, they show Bachmann in the top three and Paul in the middle of the pack.

  • Rick Perry: 33%
  • Mitt Romney: 20%
  • Michele Bachmann: 16%
  • Newt Gingrich: 8%
  • Herman Cain: 6%
  • Ron Paul: 6%
  • Rick Santorum: 4%
  • Jon Huntsman: 3%
  • Other/Not sure: 5%

And if Palin runs:

Rick Perry leads in first post-Ames poll out of Iowa

The first post-Ames numbers were released yesterday via Public Policy Polling. Consequently, this also the first poll out of Iowa since Rick Perry formally got in the race for the GOP nomination.

As you could have probably guessed, Perry has overtaken Michele Bachmann as the favorite in the state while Mitt Romney comes in a close second (all three of them are within the poll’s margin of error).

  • Rick Perry: 22%
  • Mitt Romney: 19%
  • Michele Bachmann: 18%
  • Ron Paul: 16%
  • Herman Cain: 7%
  • Newt Gingrich: 5%
  • Rick Santorum: 5%
  • Jon Huntsman: 3%
  • Other/Not sure: 5%

And with Palin in the race:

  • Rick Perry: 21%
  • Mitt Romney: 18%
  • Michele Bachmann: 15%
  • Ron Paul: 12%
  • Sarah Palin: 10%
  • Newt Gingrich: 7%
  • Herman Cain: 6%
  • Rick Santorum: 5%
  • Jon Huntsman: 3%
  • Other/Not sure: 4%

The poll should serve as a shot of reality for Bachmann. Yeah, she won the Ames Straw Poll, but her support was soft. And while I heard Erick Erickson say yesterday that Romney was diverting resources to Iowa, this poll really makes me doubt that (or at leas the wisdom in doing so).

Perry and Bachmann have essentially the same base - conservatives and tea partyers - and they, according to this poll, make up 40% of the GOP’s base in Iowa. These are voters that were already skeptical of Romney and are unlikely to suddenly support him if their candidate were to drop out. Add in Cain and at least some of Paul’s supporters (I presume that a significant number of them would back Johnson or another conservative candidate or just not vote), and the conservative/tea party vote is well over 50%.

Paul shut out starting to be noticed

Ron Paul is having a much more successful run for president this time around, but it would be hard to see that if you only focused on the mainstream media reports.  After Michele Bachmann’s win in the Ames Straw Poll, she suddenly became a power in the GOP primary.  However, Paul finished less than one percent behind her and he’s chopped liver?

Roger Simon at Politico has noticed.  Unlike we libertarian-leaning bloggers who have Paul’s back – even if we support a candidate like Johnson – Simon doesn’t really seem to have a dog in his fight.  In a piece about the blackout, he describes his views as:

I am far from a Libertarian. I believe big government is swell as long as it does big things to help the common good.

However, he also says he can tell when someone is getting shafted.  That someone is Ron Paul.

The truth is that Paul doesn’t fit neatly into anyone’s box.  The left doesn’t love him because he has ideas about gold, killing the Fed, and free markets in general.  The right doesn’t like him because he wants to legalize drugs and end the wars.  He’s not on anyone’s Christmas card list if you look at things from a right/left standpoint.

However, most people aren’t left or right.  They’re something else.

The media is shutting Paul out because they don’t see him as a viable candidate.  Of course, it’s not really their place to determine who is a viable candidate, now is it?  That’s for the American people to decide.

Where does Ron Paul go from here?

Libertarian-leaning Republican candidate Ron Paul finished just second to Michele Bachmann in the Ames Straw Poll.  The Ames poll is one of the biggest straw polls out there, and Paul has done well at most of them.  So what does this mean for Paul?  Well, he’s well positioned to make a splash in the GOP convention, that’s for sure.

To start with, there’s been some speculation that Paul may actually win in Iowa.  An early Iowa win in and of itself doesn’t mean a whole lot.  However, this builds momentum going into New Hampshire.  You know, “live free or die” New Hampshire.  New Hampshire is one of the most libertarian-leaning states out there, even if you don’t count the Free State folks that have moved there.  A strong showing in Iowa would position Paul well for a great showing in New Hampshire.

Now, let’s say that Paul managed to win one of those states and finish strongly in the other.  If that were to happen, it would become more difficult for mainstream media to discount Paul’s candidacy like they have been to some extent, and like they did four years ago.

The truth is Paul’s message has always been economics that are extremely popular right now, meaning they can’t hit him with a flip-flop charge.  They can’t hit him on a lot of things that will come back to haunt some of the other candidates right now.  His consistency through the years, coupled with a media that can no longer ignore him, may bode very, very well for the Texas congressman.

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