What the Ames Straw Poll Really Means

By | August 13, 2011

For weeks the 2012 Presidential Candidates have been travelling the state of Iowa hoping to influence enough Iowans to vote for them in the nationally known Ames Straw Poll, but what does it mean?

The poll is held in conjunction with the Iowa state fair. Candidate’s put up venues, give speeches, participate in a debate and otherwise plea for support in Saturday’s poll.

The poll is not scientific, in fact only 10 to 20 thousand votes are expected to be cast.

Commentators have been saying that the poll doesn’t matter. Pointing to the fact that only once in the last five polls did Iowans correctly call the actual nominee that would be selected.

To add fuel to the fire, a candidate that is expected to be a major factor in the Presidential race didn’t even go to the event – Texas Governor Rick Perry.

That doesn’t mean that the poll is all pomp and circumstance, it does have a purpose. While the poll rarely selects the actually nominee, it does cull the field. Candidates that are struggling in the polls often use a failed result in Iowa to indicate that their bid should end.

The least-popular candidates were all in attendance. Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman were successful in gaining some name recognition, national air time and a chance to get their positions to the voters.

Now, as we await the results, we also await the first drop-outs of the 2012 GOP Presidential race.

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