The First Popularity Contest Has a Winner

by on March 7th, 2015
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The first popularity contest is over and the results of the Iowa straw poll are in. It’s a nonbinding vote that measures the strength of a candidate’s organizational skill and popularity with voters rather than their actual electability, but it gives bragging rights to the winner nonetheless.

Michele Bachmann came out on top, with 152 more votes than second-place Ron Paul, but that isn’t the whole story. Who was and wasn’t there adds to the intrigue, along with the finish order for the rest of the field. This will be close to the end of the race for Newt Gingrich (eighth place), Thad McCotter (10th place) and possibly others.

Bachmann’s first place finish was not unexpected. She was born in Iowa and is now from neighboring Minnesota and she has been all over Iowa leading up to the poll. She is well-spoken, sincere and extremely motivated. Winning Iowa will give her wider national appeal and visibility.

Rick Perry finished sixth. It gives some indication about the excitement over the man who also officially announced his candidacy at the same time the straw poll was taking place and wasn’t even on the ballot. His 718 votes were all write-ins. He will change the game, ending the campaign for several candidates before the season grows much older. He’s going to be a heavy challenge to Mitt Romney, a distant seventh place, for the lead among all GOP candidates nationally.

Ron Paul’s second-place finish is an indication of the intensity level of his supporters. Often mocked for his libertarian views, his supporters are true believers and his views on a smaller government, the US monetary system, and the Fed in general are gaining traction. He may be a long shot for the nomination, but his second place showing indicates his level of support, and he will be a force to be reckoned with, both in the primaries and for the eventual nominee.

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