Opinion: Iowa Straw Poll Preview: Who's In and Who Will Win?

Thursday, August 04, 2011 - 12:27 PM

Now that the debt ceiling crisis is temporarily over, it’s time to turn back to the pending Iowa GOP Straw Poll and the first GOP presidential debate in Iowa. It’s hard to get a hard handle on turnout for the Iowa Straw poll since it’s a test of the organizational ability of candidates – who can bus in more folks and get them to vote – than of public opinion that can be measured with surveys.

And once again the process is pregnant with too many people who think they are qualified to even mention that they are running for president.

The contenders:

  • Bachmann
  • Hermann Cain
  • Newt Gingrich
  • John Huntsman
  • Gary Johnson
  • Ron Paul
  • Tim Pawlenty
  • Mitt Romney
  • Rick Santorum
  • Thaddeus McCotter

Pols who are on many wish lists but who've have not (yet) indicated an interest in running:

  • Chris Christie
  • Sarah Palin
  • Rudy Giuliani
  • Rick Perry

Talking to fellow reporters and analysts as well as party activists, here are my projections of what to watch for:

  • Bachmann is likely to win
  • Cain wins the award for best speaker but remains an unviable candidate
  • Gingrich's remains damaged after Tiffany fiasco and GOP budget comments
  • Huntsman will not do well, but keep an eye on him in NH
  • Johnson not a factor
  • Paul is a constant favorite in the Libertarian wing of the party and he’s said he needs to come in third, which may be possible
  • Pawlenty is in a hot and nasty contest with fellow Minnesotan Bachmann and could come in towards the top of the pile
  • Romney is not participating in the straw poll and seems to be bypassing Iowa BUT his supporters could organize an informal Straw Poll showing. (Not likely)
  • Santorum has been running largely on three cylinders, but could limp in fourth or fifth.
  • You might be asking about the non-participants Palin, Perry and Christie.

    I thought Palin might get in, but her praise of Michelle Bachmann following the debt ceiling vote makes me doubt that she will. Palin will be a kingmaker, issuing Tweets on the other contenders as she's done in the past few months, trashing Mitt Romney's debt ceiling stance the same day as she praised Bachmann.

    Christie has a lot of pressure on him to run, and if the field looks shaky enough, he may come in late for the caucuses. There's virtually no way he can get organized in time to participate in the near term, though.

    Rick Perry is a different kettle of fish. I spoke to a prominent Texan this week who asked me if I think Perry’s opposition to Ethanol subsidies would hurt him in Iowa, and this weekend Tom Pauken is giving a speech in New Hampshire. Never heard of him? He’s a prominent Texas conservative who has played an important role in Texas GOP politics for 30 years. He is a Perry appointee and will be in Iowa speaking to “On Deck 2012,” a “Republican initiative in New Hampshire that provides a close and personal opportunity for Presidential hopefuls and other leaders to meet local residents leading up to New Hampshire’s first in the nation primary...”

    Hmm. Methinks he’s scoping out the landscape for Rick Perry!

    Overall, the Straw Poll result may not be as good an indicator for the Iowa Caucuses as it was the last time around, when Arkansas then-Gov. Mike Huckabee won both.

    Steffen Schmidt is professor of political science at Iowa State University, writes and blogs for WNYC’s “It’s a Free Country,” and is chief political correspondent for


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    Comments [22]

    Robert Morrow from Austin, TX

    That brings up another disqualifying characteristic of Perry: he is arrogant. Rick Perry knows his adultery rap sheet and liability more than anyone else. Perry is fully aware of the tremendous amount of risk this brings to the Republican party, his political career, his personal life and reputation. Yet, Rick Perry, drunk with arrogance and entitlement, presents himself as a legitimate presidential candidate when he is anything but that. Adulterer Rick Perry is sitting on a keg of slut-fueled nitroglycerine that if it ever exploded, would make Anthony Weiner look like a mere pimple popping.
    Side note: it is no secret in Austin that for years Rick and Anita Perry have been having marital problems (no wonder); but enabling Anita is wearing her “Hillary Clinton” boots as she supports his presidential run. Anita sure did not support Perry’s 2010 governor’s race, as she rarely went to campaign events and when she did she never smiled, had a robotic look on her face and obviously did not want to be there. At the moments of Rick’s greatest triumphs, Anita would be on stage with a blank look on her face, looking like a lost, unhappy child amidst all the cheering for Adulterer Rick.
    Anita’s behavior was so obvious that a local columnist John Kelso wrote an article about her never smiling on the campaign trail: “Somebody needs to goose Anita Perry to get a smile out of her.”
    Perry’s fraudulent behavior, his use of his Christian buzzwords and Bible talk, while living a reckless life of flagrant adultery is enough to completely disqualify the man for office. Key point: Slick Rick is arrogant and entitled.
    Here is a excellent example of that fraud Slick Rick in action. Perry has been running for president for 5 years now, carefully attempting to position and market himself. He has written 2 books – one hypocritically title On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts are Worth Fighting For (2008 and targeted at social conservatives) and Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington (2010 and targeted at fiscal conservatives). Remember, moral relativist Perry wrote that book about “American values” and the Boy Scouts all the while he was playing with strippers and “young hotties” the age of his daughter as per my sources.

    Aug. 07 2011 04:22 AM
    Robert Morrow from Austin, TX

    Tea Party fraud Rick Perry is Political Herpes

    By Robert Morrow Austin, TX 512-306-1510

    I urge you to NOT vote for Rick Perry who is one of the biggest frauds and phonies in American politics. I am a 3-time delegate to the Texas Republican convention (2006, 2008, 2010) and I live in Austin, TX. Here why Rick Perry is completely unqualified to be president.
    The first thing you need to know about Rick Perry is that he is (or has been) a flagrant adulterer. Nor does Perry understand or appreciate free market capitalism and the importance of low taxes for all; Perry is a crony capitalist and he likes to spend and borrow lots of money. Perry does not respect parental rights (HPV mandate).Rick Perry, a 25 year career politician, is for the endless, costly undeclared wars; he is for an unaccountable Federal Reserve banking cartel making multi-trillion dollar interventions in a free market; he is for the Patriot Act and its assault on your privacy.
    The same man who used a presidential prayer rally (8/6/11) for his personal ambitions and who often spouts Christian buzzwords and Bible talk to advance his political career is a flagrant adulterer, having sex with women who are the approximate age of his daughter Sydney, age 24.

    Rick Perry’s Adultery (& his Arrogance)

    I know this because I am a patron of Austin strip clubs. My friends and excellent contacts in the Austin strip club community tell me that Rick Perry, a la Bill Clinton, has an enabling entourage who gets him “young hotties” to have sex with – both here in Austin and especially when he is on the road. I learned about this before the 2010 Texas primary. I had an attractive stripper tell me about her direct dealings with Rick Perry. She said that she was attempting a Monica Lewinsky-type act upon Gov. Rick Perry (oral sex) but that in her words Perry was “too coked up” to perform sexually! When it came time for the stripper to leave, Perry gave her an outrageous amount of money, so large in fact that it probably means that Perry is taking cash bribes or illegal gifts to fund his extracurricular activities. Perry is not a rich man and I doubt he is spending that much of his own money on the women. (Actually sweetheart real estate deals have made the man unusual money.)
    Another young woman, who has had direct dealings with Perry’s enabling entourage, told me that Perry is especially flagrantly adulterous when he goes on the road. She said that Perry has sex with the “young hotties” and that Perry and his entourage are literally having orgies in his hotel room. They are either calling escort services or picking up “young hotties” impressed by an arrogant, entitled governor of Texas.
    Recently a local Austin reporter was telling me that they had heard about Rick Perry and the strippers in 2006, but they never could nail it down. Well, consider it confirmed.

    Aug. 07 2011 04:16 AM
    Elizabeth from Florida

    Ron Paul will really upset Bachmann

    Aug. 06 2011 09:34 PM
    Pamela L. from Schenectady, NY

    In 2008 Dr. Paul was the tea party. Now Bachman and others are claiming to share RP's views just to get votes. Our only hope to help the economy, bring our troops home now and for the right to life and liberty if Ron Paul wins the election !

    Aug. 05 2011 11:48 AM
    George Washington

    Ron Paul 2012!!

    A change for America's Interests NOT Special Interest!

    Aug. 05 2011 02:01 AM
    John from NY, NY

    Michelle Bachmann loves to steal Ron Paul's views on everything. She's the Tea Party favorite and I really have no idea why. She's a sock puppet and her heart is not in it. Just her ego. Ron Paul is running for the right reasons. To save this country. God Bless Ron Paul. I really hope that he wins this straw poll. RON PAUL 2012!

    Aug. 05 2011 12:42 AM

    I honestly believe that Ron Paul has been endowed by our creator to spread a message of peace and love.
    Ron Paul, you go spread the cry for liberty and freedom. Win in Ames. Win the primary. Win the Presidency.
    Ron Paul 2012

    Aug. 04 2011 11:51 PM

    All the Republican candidates (regardless of rhetoric) would be no different than Obama/Bush....except for one....Ron Paul.

    Aug. 04 2011 11:25 PM

    Don't get me started on Perry. I went to Texas A&M and am a native Texan. And I DO NOT and will NEVER support him. He is a Big Government loving neocon. He didn't start with this "tea party" rhetoric until Paul and others forced it mainstream after decades of consistency and honesty. Bachmann and Romney don't even come close when you compare them to Ron Paul. He would, and has stomped them in debates time and time again. Not only is he their intellectual superior but he has the record to back his talk up. Not one candidate in the GOP running for president can say that. You want more of the same? Vote for Romney then, because that is what you'll get. More war, more taxes, more government, more waste... I'm hoping that our collective consciousness is beginning to shift enough for us as a people and as a species to realize what a good thing we have in Dr. Paul. Wake up, don't let the MSM fool you they are scared to death. Which brings up a wonderful question. Why is it that the MSM, both left and right are terrified of Ron Paul? Why is that? Maybe because he won't fit their agenda? Because he won't sell out? Because he is honest? The answer is all of the above and more. It is tremendously satisfying to fight for what is right. Ron Paul is right. Vote for this man. Rise up against all the garbage that is trying to assault your mind and heart. Don't let emotion destroy your reason. Investigate Ron Paul for your self and compare him to other candidates. Educate your self on his positions. Then once you've done all that. Take part, and help an honest man win the presidency of the United States and make a statement as a people to the government that we will not tolerate their type of politics anymore.

    Aug. 04 2011 11:22 PM
    Saúl from Lima

    Ron Paul wil WIN!

    Aug. 04 2011 10:18 PM
    William from the school of Dr. Ron Paul

    I noticed all of my comments were taken by the time I reached the end

    Ron Paul

    nuff said

    Aug. 04 2011 10:10 PM

    I'm guessing Paul will sweep it, but you won't hear about it if he does. The continued media blackout (sans Fox Business) certainly isn't helping his cause.
    I heard something on WNYC today saying that none of the Republican candidates took a strong stance on the debt ceiling debacle........someone hasn't been paying attention. Ron Paul had been actively and publicly opposed to raising the ceiling and had his own plan to deal with our debt, but news agencies like NPR have been ignoring him altogher.

    Romney is being billed as a "front runner" for no good reason.

    Aug. 04 2011 08:31 PM

    Ron Paul will win this.

    Aug. 04 2011 07:16 PM

    Wonder what grade Professor Schmidt would give a student for as blatent an error as saying Huckabee won both the Straw Poll and the Caucuses, when Romney won the Straw Poll. In fact that 2007 Straw Poll win by Romney and then 2nd place showing in the Caucuses is his justification for not playing this time.

    How can we take the Professors forecast seriously when he makes mistakes on the past results (which are only a google search away)?

    Aug. 04 2011 06:50 PM
    BeadStallCup from IOWA

    Ron Paul is the only candidate that has a Congressional voting record that matches his stand on the issues. The rest of them are talking out of both sides of their mouths. They'll say anything to get your vote, but don't count on them to follow thru when the time comes. Ron Paul for US President 2012

    Aug. 04 2011 06:13 PM

    I'm hoping Ron Paul wins. He is the only one trying to make real change.

    Aug. 04 2011 05:54 PM

    I'm hoping Ron Paul wins. He is the only one trying to make real change.

    Aug. 04 2011 05:49 PM

    "Overall, the Straw Poll result may not be as good an indicator for the Iowa Caucuses as it was the last time around, when Arkansas then-Gov. Mike Huckabee won both."

    Huckabee was second to Romney in last years straw poll. You get paid for this?

    Aug. 04 2011 05:43 PM

    "Overall, the Straw Poll result may not be as good an indicator for the Iowa Caucuses as it was the last time around, when Arkansas then-Gov. Mike Huckabee won both."

    Huckabee was second to Romney in last years straw poll. You get paid for this?

    Aug. 04 2011 05:41 PM
    Brian from Brownsburg, IN

    I wouldn't be surprised if Ron Paul gets beat by one vote, just as Mitt Romneycare won the SLRC straw poll last year by one vote ..... then many will call B.S.

    I honestly think the MSM so doesn't want to report Ron Paul as the winner that they will somehow scam it so that Ron Paul loses by a vote or two.

    Aug. 04 2011 05:05 PM
    Younger Cato from USA

    Paul will win. This and many other MSM prognostications will be ass off as their prognostications about the collapse of the housing bubble i.e. Paul will shame you (MSM) with more truth.

    Aug. 04 2011 04:59 PM
    JL from Kansas City, KS

    Ron Paul will pull off the upset.

    Watch and see...

    Can you smell what the Dr. is cookin???

    Aug. 04 2011 04:43 PM

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