Romney Wins Straw Poll

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I don't really care about Romney winning the Ames Straw Poll, but people who say it is bad news for Romney because he got "only 31 percent" against "nobodies" don't know what they are talking about.

Romney got the second highest percentage ever (31.6%), behind only Buchanan in 1987 (33.6%). It was low turnout (14,302) compared to 1999 (23,685) but was the second highest ever. And it's not like Bush had tough opposition in 1999 when he got 31.3%: the next finishers were Steve Forbes, Libby Dole, and Gary Bauer (McCain was not yet in the race and came in nearly last). I'd say that's approximately equivalent to beating Huckabee, Brownback, and Tancredo.

The straw poll doesn't mean much. But historically, Romney did about as well as ever anyone has. It is no predictor of the nominee -- the winners have been George H.W. Bush, Buchanan, Dole/Gramm (tie), George W. Bush, so only 1.5 times out of 4 has it been correct -- but it is more accurate in picking the Iowa Caucus winner (being catgeorically wrong only once). So there's no real bad news for Romney here, but the only good news for him is that he'll probably win the Iowa Caucus.

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