Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ames Straw Poll Analysis And Fallout Considerations

Well, I debated whether to post my predictions before the straw poll. Both, my less-than-exemplary history at predicting votes, and the modesty that didn’t want to be embarrassed if I overestimated Huckabee’s strength, made me decline to do so.

However, as the results (…finally) came out, I had hit the top two, with their percentages pretty darned close. It wasn’t even terribly bad, below that. I had thought that I would post what I had predicted and how and why. I will do that and speculate about what happens from here. First, I’ll list the actual results, followed by what had been my predictions as of 7 o’clock, after closely watching reports on the web for over a week, tweaking them as I went. I admit that my last tweaks came as a reach for sobriety, after commiserating with another Huckabee blogger about anxiety that we might have gotten to close to be objective, and contemplating that Huckabee was hiring no busses to cart in voters, while others were, especially Romney. Romney had spent so lavishly as to be able to haul in thousands of complete mercenaries, not necessarily voting conscience at all. Given that, I think we can consider 31.5 percent a poor showing.

Now, I had also tweaked up Fred McGiuliani, which I had continued to lower based on what I read, which indicated that 1) Iowa didn’t particularly like them, especially Giuliani and McCain, which only a modicum of sobriety would admit is the reason they didn’t compete in the first place. Do you think they thought that they could win and decided to skip it, anyway? Gimme a break! And 2) Though the Iowa Republican Party had left them on the ballot, Iowans were less than pleased with that and were sure to punish them. However, I tweaked them back up a point or two, figuring that most attenders would disdain them, but some party insider activists would see them as inevitable and vote for them, anyway. They may have, but there weren’t relatively many of them. Have a look and I’ll comment, afterward.

Straw Poll – Actual Results

1st: Mitt Romney received 4,516 votes 31.5%
2nd: MIKE HUCKABEE received 3,587 votes 18.1%
3rd: Sam Brownback received 2,812 votes 15.1%
4th: Tom Tancredo received 1,961 votes 13.7%
5th: Ron Paul received 1,305 votes 9.1%
6th: Tommy Thompson received 1,039 votes 7.2%
7th: Fred Thompson received 203 votes 1.4%
8th: Rudy Guliani received 183 votes 1.2%
9th: Duncan Hunter received 174 votes 1.2%
10th: John McCain received 101 votes .71%
11th: John Cox he received 41 votes .29%

Predictions – 7:00 Aug 11

Straw Poll


Romney: 32%

Huckabee: 20%

Tommy Thompson: 9%

Brownback: 8%

Tancredo: 8%

Paul: 8%

Giuliani: 5%

Fred Thompson: 4%

Hunter: 3

McCain: 3%

I predicted Mitt Romney would take (buy) 32% . He got 31.5% As I said, when you consider what Romney spent and bussed people from every county, with everyone saying he would blow the field away, that’s not particularly impressive, which is corroborated her, Iowa Straw Poll Results and Analysis Liberty Papers , where it was called pathetic There were 14,302 votes cast. And he couldn’t bus in 5,000 votes? A lot of people must have ridden Romney’s busses in, and voted for someone else.

As Mike Huckabee always said, he surely is getting the best “miles-per-gallon.” In terms of dollars per vote, he must have blown the field away. TIME noted, What Iowa's Straw Poll Tells the GOP TIME that that Huckabee’s campaign had won more votes than it had sold tickets. They had not even rented any busses to haul voters in. The campaign web site was slow, after the report: Either they were working on it or hopefully, contributions were coming in. There will be some dropout fallout, after today: the more the better. If conservatives are going to compete with the media darlings (below), they should coalesce behind Huckabee, to build a unified movement. While Romney was on FOX News Sunday and Brownback on ABC’s This Week, Huckabee was on CBS’ Face The Nation, this morning.

Sam Brownback should drop out, but first signs aren’t encouraging: Brownback buoyed by results in Iowa, and on ABC’s This Week, Sunday morning, he called his third-place finish a ticket to move forward and set a target for the Jan. Iowa Caucuses. If he cares about life as much as he says he does, he should want to consolidate the consistent and resolute pro-life vote, against the media’s pets. I never thought Brownback was an endearing or lucid candidate, but I at least saw him as sincere about his priorities. Now, I need an explanation of why I should see his determination as more out of principle than ego. And this is about the respect of human life, not a personal pet issue. As a Huckabee supporter, I have to admit that if Huckabee had finished third, I wouldn’t want him to quit. But, Huckabee is a more appealing and able candidate, who beat Brownback while spending less money and without bussing in support. And I earnestly believe that Huckabee can win the general election while Brownback can’t, or even win the nomination. Until I learn something that I can’t now see, Brownback cares more about Brownback than he does the sanctity of life.

I guessed Brownback would get 6%, figuring that some voters would be put off by his negative campaigning. If more had been, Huckabee would have gotten even more than he did. Brownback worked Iowa hard, brought in 51 busses of people, and got a little over 15%. Still, he finished behind Huckabee in what everyone saw as the race for Iowa’s social conservatives. Just those two together, bettered Romney’s total, and Romney far outspent the two, together. With the support of Brownback, Tancredo, Thompson, Hunter (he’d probably even pick up a few from Paul), Huckabee would have thrashed Romney, and with everything else against them, conservatives should go into the caucuses united.

Tom Tancredo shouldn’t be disappointed with 13.7%, which beat everyone’s expectations, even mine. I thought I had tweaked him up to 8%, for the fiercely anti-immigration contingent and his strong Christian statements to heavily Christian Iowa Republicans. Still, that could be another big chunk of consolidated social conservatives which put Romney in deep soup for the January Iowa Caucuses.

Unless he’s ticked off about only getting 9% (I had predicted 8%), Ron Paul isn’t dropping out. His is a crusade. Besides, after most of his support went home, I don’t know where the rest would go. I figured his support would be the least flexible, going neither up nor down. I had him between 6 and 10% from start to finish.

Tommy Thompson said he would drop out, if he didn’t finish first or second. He finished 6th. Well… I’d just say that I’d rather have him stay than Brownback and Tancredo.

I might as well mention Duncan Hunter, now, since there’s more to be said about Fred McGiuliani. In black and white, Hunter has as much gravitas as anyone in the field, and he’s a conservative Christian, too. But gravitas and faith alone don’t capture the public’s fancy. You can print your positions on paper, but you have to capture people with empathy and charisma. His 1% isn’t going to make or break anyone.

Fred McGiuliani (at least that name hits a few ethnic groups) didn’t get 3% between them. I was afraid I would underestimate the force of media celebrity. But in this case, I overestimated. But, never fear, guys! You can be sure that the media will continue to hold you up as frontrunners. In fact, they showed so poorly, that the media will take that as proof that the Iowa Straw Poll didn’t mean much, and so will they. And, much of the public will buy it. But, I don’t think it will make them win in the SC Caucuses and New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries.

Rudy Giuliani wants to hold his breath through those early contests, just showing respectably and having the media hold up his profile until Super Tuesday on Feb. 5th. I think he might as well skip those early contests and start hitting NY, CA, FL, and other larger states, hard and loudly, RIGHT NOW!

John McCain should hit New Hampshire and troll for what remains of those Independents who aren’t angry about the war. But, he needs to have some magic up his sleeve that I don’t know about, because I don’t see how he can pull it off.

Assuming that he’s still going to get in, in early September, I would still think that Fred Thompson has the best chance of the media pinups. But, I would guess that enjoying the good poll numbers while sitting on the sidelines, he would have liked to sit out of the Ames Straw Poll and still pull 15%. The 1.4% doesn’t exactly bring him in with a push: could that discourage him from entering?. Hopefully, conservatives will think they have a live option in Huckabee. Besides, Huckabee’s clearer, more consistent, more engaging, and an experienced executive. It really shouldn’t be close. If the media really liked him, he’d have Thompson buried. But, psssst…the media are liberal! But, Huckabee did what he had to do.

I’m pretty sure what the media disposition will be. But, I’m anxious to see how severely they will be that way and how much the public will continue to fall for it.


The Impeder said...

I personally like Huckabee as as Christian and as a speaker, though I don't see him as one who would really limit government.

I think we would ultimately end up being stuck with more of the same, which means back-breaking debt for my generation and future generations.

Massachusetts For Mike Huckabee said...

Excellent analysis! I agree with you about Brownback, he really needs to drop out of the race. To me, Sam Brownback seems insincere and I know many Christians who just don't buy what he is selling.

Larry Perrault said...

You shouldn't think that. Mike Huckabee has a clearer sense of the 10th Amendment's delegation of state vs. federal authority than anyone who has been president since Hoover or before: anyway, before my time

Study up and you'll see. Groups like the Club For Growth and Cato Institutre crudely apply a president's measure of relative expenditure growth to a relatively poor and previously under-serviced state. Given the CFG's late television attack ad on Huckabee, I can only only imagine that they were vested in another candidate who felt threatened by Huckasbee's momentum.

Hey,I was fiscally conservative before fiscal conservatism was cool. I'm not concerned in the least. But, I will say that Huckabee will not stand by and watch the Iraqi nation and people go up in flames.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

I agree with Larry that you can't evaluate Arkansas as if it were Ohio or Connecticut. Conservative government does not mean the rich get richer and the poor starve to death, although the CFG hasn't grasped that point yet. Good government consists of taking steps that make people feel more secure and hopeful about the future for them and their children. Rather than trying to apply ideology to life, we need to do it the other way around. Huckabee is one of several individuals who could make good Presidents, but none of them would be any good if they relied on ideology purity/rigidity. The CFG approach loses 45 out of 50 states, and that's not exactly what we need.

steve maloney


Here's a straw poll that actually means something, because plurality (vote for one) voting performs horrendously when you have more than two candidates.

The solution is Range Voting.

Larry Perrault said...

It isn't a matter of "ideology" in terms of lock-step reaction of a particular group, but it is ideology in terms of a logically related system of assertions., not to salve my own feelings but to advance what I believe is healthy for the society, sort of like the elements of a balanced diet.

I of course, sympathize with people who are primarily motivated by the issue of life. I agree with its primary importance. But it is not for “feel good” purposes, but for the very practical purpose of the psychological (I’ll say that, rather than “spiritual, so as not to be frightening to the skeptic) health of the society. I believe we are in the process of illness well unto death if we release that concern to the cultural currents.

However, I agree with you that a focus purely or merely personal sentiment so as to distract from that larger matter, can have a net negative effect. As I’m sure I have said, my refusal to support Giuliani is in no sense persona so that, for example, I would not protest his appointment to a post where his particular talents could be put to good use, merely because he is “pro-choice.”

But, to hire a “leader” of the nation or even of the party who has no concept of the magnitude of that concern is entirely unacceptable. I will have no part, whatsoever, in such an effort

I should post this evening my thoughts in the wake of Tommy Thompson's withdrawal of his campaign.