Sunday, August 12, 2007

Straw Poll Analysis

Who won:

Mike Huckabee:
Hucks didn't spend nearly as much money on the straw poll as his evil twin Sam Brownback, but ended up second in the poll. Not only does it make him look good, but it makes Brownback look bad. Odds are, if one of the two drops out, their supporters will switch to the other, and so this is a big win for Huckabee.

Mitt Romney: Romney won the straw poll. 'nuff said on that front. It's not much of a surprise, anyway.

Who stood pat:

Sam Brownback:
Brownback finished a strong third, but ending up behind Huckabee after investing so much time and money in the state has got to be rough. The straw poll, after all, is more about the ratio of money and time to votes than it is about the votes in a vacuum.

Tom Tancredo: One one hand, he was hoping to do a little better, and he spent a good amount of time in the state. On the other, his 4th place finish was well ahead of the 6th place minimum he said he would need to stay in the race, and his campaign is still plugging along.

Ron Paul: His finish was stronger than much of the MSM predicted, but less than his supporters had hoped. However, given that he had spent far less money and time in Iowa than the other 5 major vote-getters at the straw poll, his fifth place finish doesn't look too bad, and his supporters were, by all accounts, some of the most vocal.

Mitt Romney: His margin of victory was less than he'd have liked. With the other 'front-runners' not putting any resources into the poll, he was probably hoping for something closer to 50%. He bought far more tickets than he got votes, as well.

Who Lost:

Tommy Thompson:
Reports today indicate that he has dropped out of the race due to a weak 6th place finish, after an all-out effort to place strongly in the straw poll. Ending up behind Paul, who spent several times less money and time in the state, put the kibosh on his campaign.

Rudy McThompson: While Fred Thompson's supporters are patient enough for him to enter the race, it doesn't seem like anyone else is. And the more dirt they dig up on him (Nixon's mole, pro-choice lobbying), the more it looks like his campaign may have hit its peak before it even began. John McCain is virtually finished, and will be totally finished if he slips in New Hampshire - he was woefully short on funds at the beginning of the quarter and has been absolutely destroyed on immigration. Giuliani is still the leader in the polls, but his lead has been slowly disintegrating over the past couple months as his more liberal social positions become more publicized - his past support of federal funding for abortion, gay civil unions, gun control, and leniency on illegal immigration will turn off the conservative base and religious right, while his support for the national ID and the patriot act will turn off moderates and libertarian-leaning Republicans.

The Iowa Straw Poll: 14,000 or so votes was less than half of what they had anticipated. A poor showing for the event.

Who still isn't relevant:

Duncan Hunter:
He says he's in it for the long haul, but nobody really seems to know the guy very well. He hasn't been campaigning heavily, and doesn't seem to have much of a following - either national or niche.

John Cox: Frankly, if he had been invited to the debates, I think he'd be doing a good bit better. But it's hard to portray yourself as the 'alternative' candidate in a field of 10.

Who thinks he's more relevant than he actually is:

Newt Gingrich:
This category could just as easily have been called 'who was relevant 10 years ago and is stuck in a time warp'. He could have moderately more success as the 'alternative' candidate, but, he has too much baggage. Plus, while at least Thompson is making the rounds and talking the talk, Gingrich has taken on the persona of a grumpy old man being critical of everything about his party. At a certain point, you just want to say 'shut up'.


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