Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The 2011 Ames Straw Poll Results

For a lot of reasons, I was unable to get to the 2011 Republican Straw Poll in Ames. The event has become the unofficial kickoff for the Republican Presidential Campaign in the years where there isn't an incumbant.
Like the Iowa Caucuses being the kickoff for the delegate selection process to the National Conventions, they have had their controversy. Some of it deserved, but mostly, IMHO because a lot of people don't like it that we force the candidates to actually do retail campaigning. We force the candidates to actually meet the people. & we are willing (usually) to ask the hard questions. That is something some of the candidates don't like, but holding their feet to the fire is important to make sure they don't just make empty promises. That alone, justifies what we do. No it isn't perfect, but then what system is?
& while we don't always pick the ultimate winner, we do serve to winnow the field. Another plus. I am also going to add that McCain's skipping the Iowa Straw Poll (& to some extent the caucuses) as he did should have been a warning that he didn't want to face the tough questions & should have raised some concerns. Maybe a more viable candidate could have won had we seen his true colors sooner. But that is just my opinion.
Now on to yesterday's results.
Michelle Bachmann won the poll with 28.5% of the vote. Ron Paul came in 2nd with 27.6%. Tim Pawlenty came in 3rd with 13.6%. In 4th was Rick Santorum with 9.8%. & in 5th was Herman Cain with 8.6%.
I will start by saying I expected it to be close for the top spots, with it being a toss-up between Bachmann or Pawlenty as to who would end up finishing 1st. Given the strong support I have seen for him I expected Ron Paul to be in the top 3 as well. What I didn't expect was that Pawlenty would be so far behind while still being in double digits.
Part of what helped Bachmann is her Iowa ties, being from Waterloo. But she also ran a good campaign that resonates well with those who are Pro-life as well as those wanting to cut spending & clean up the budget mess in DC.
Actually, given the strong Pro-life stand of most candidates, that wasn't as big a factor as it will be in the general election. But the fact that the leaders are Pro-life also makes it clear that that is the direction we expect the party to go.
The reason Ron Paul did so well is simple, the last 2-1/2 years have proven him right on so many of the things he warned about & said needed to be dealt with. In fact, he has set the tone for the campaign because of that.
That he was right also helped him overcome a lot of the negative image he had from 4 years ago as a result of some of his followers. & I say some, because those few that were a bit out there in how they behaved did do damage by failing to treat others with respect. I was one of those who supported Brownback at the Straw Poll. I went on to support Paul in the caucus. I was insulted by the way some of Paul's supporters acted at the straw poll. It turned me off. But I looked beyond them to the candidate & saw someone worth supporting.
Part of the reason, I suspect, that Pawlenty didn't do as well as expected has to do with how he occasionally comes across. It is hard to explain unless you have seen him, as I have, but he doesn't always seem to have the enthusiasm he should.
The one that might have been hurt the most with the results is Santorum. He is pretty well known & still only came in 4th. Some of that may be residual damage done by his support of for Arlen Specter, over Congressman Pat Toomey in the 2004 Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. While some of that could be justified by the fact that Spector was chair of the Judiciary committee & would be sure Bush's nominees were treated fairly, many conservatives felt betrayed. & in part that is probably why he lost his reelection bid.
Cain's 5th place is a good thing given how unknown he is. He has done some campaigning but not much. So that fact that for others 8.6% would be bad, for him it is a positive. It says that if he works Iowa between now & the Caucuses on 6 February 2011 he could make a strong showing.
Rick Perry is another one to watch. He came in 6th on a write in campaign since he didn't announce until yesterday. That he did so good says he already has a strong base to build on.
As I am writing this, Fox News has announced Pawlenty has dropped out. I can't say I am surprized. I suspected he might given his showing in Iowa. The question is, will Santorum follow suit? This will hel;p bachmann & Perry in the short run. But February is a long way off & plenty could happen between now & then to change things even more.
The one thing I do know for sure is the multitude of 515 area code calls I have been getting will be dropping off until late December early January. (FYI, that is because most campaigns locate in the Des Moines area & thus their campaign phones get a 515 AC.)


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