The Ames Straw poll is not really important as far as the big picture of running for President is concerened, but Conservatives put a lot of emphasis on the event. Republican presidential candidates spent millions trying to influence a majority of Iowans who attended the carnival-like event.
This year, Tim Pawlenty effectively said that if he didn’t get a decent position in the poll, he will have to reconsider his candidacy for president. Well, the straw poll went public a short while ago, and Pawlenty came in 3rd with 2,293 votes. Second was Ron Paul with 4671 votes and Michele Bachmann came in 1st with 4,823 votes.
Even Rick Perry, who announced his candidacy for the Presidency earlier today, received some votes in the straw poll. Perry, although his name was not on the ballot, came in 6th with 718 votes. Mitt Romney, whose name was on the ballot, was beaten by Perry. Romney came in 7th, with 567 votes.
Rick Santorum came in 4th behind Tim Pawlenty, and rounding out the top 5 was Herman Cain.
Conservatives look to the winner of the straw poll as a good indication of who they should donate to, so candidates placing in the first 2 or 3 spots are usually in a good position to get more contributions. All eyes now look towards Rick Santorum and Herman Cain, and the expectation is that one or both these campaigns would be coming to an end.
Although Mitt Romney came in 7th, his campaign is expected to continue. Romney is leading in the general polls among Republicans.
An afterthought: expect Newt Gingrich to fall by the wayside soon.