Michele Bachmann narrowly won the 2011 Iowa Straw Poll by just 142 votes out of almost 17,000 votes cast, Save Jerseyans.
Ron Paul placed second. The biggest winner, of course, is the Iowa GOP who raised a HUGE sum of money with this record turnout.
You can read more analysis and vote totals from our contributor, William Pennington.
History for successful candidates post-Ames is a mixed bag. Bush won the straw poll in 1999 and went on to serve two terms; Romney won in 2007 and ultimately lost to John McCain; thus, this celebrated straw poll isn’t always the best predictor of who will ultimately secure the nomination! Plenty of Republicans think the whole event is a futile exercise.
What it does do is eliminate candidates who look less-than-viable after the results come in: that’s terrible news for Minnesotan Tim Pawlenty who went all-in but still couldn’t win in Ames (or even get close… he got only 14% of the vote today despite spending more money). Guys like Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and John Huntsman who finished far back consequently have a very tough decision ahead of them this week.
Mitt Romney and the GOP Primary’s newest contestant, Governor Rick Perry, chose to skip Ames altogether. Perry is in South Carolina and Romney is in New Hampshire.