Today, as the beginning of the real race for the nomination began, we need to look at the results of the Ames straw poll and decide what they actually mean in the context of the whole nomination battle. Just a note; I am a huge Rick Perry supporter, so some of this may come off as biased at times. So lets look at what the results mean for each candidate.
While Michele Bachmann may have officially “won” today, I think that overall she came out proving she is weaker with the grassroots then she claims to be. Her campaign claims to have sold 6,000 tickets, and she got fewer votes. One can only assume that she lost some votes that she had brought in to Perry and his unofficial write in campaign, seeing as they are similar and Perry had the momentum today. However, most news reports won’t focus on that, and she may be able to galvanize the base a little bit, but ultimately, Perry’s entrance is not good news for her.
Ron Paul has incredible organizing skills and the Paulbots will go almost anywhere vote for him. The fact that he came in second place is the high point of his campaign. It will be down hill from here.
Tim Pawlenty kind of managed to come in over the minimum of what he could do. But he was still in a distant third. Ultimately I don’t think much changed for him today. His campaign will continue in a downward spiral before he will quit the race, I’m guessing on the day after the Iowa caucus’ after a dissapointing finish behind Perry, Romney, and Bachmann.
Santorum did well enough to justify staying in the race. He may have shown that there is very minor grassroot enthusiasm. But the fact of the matter is, with his loss in 2006 and his social Conservatism, this is just not his year. Add on top of that he has a lack of enthusiasm that rivals Mitch Daniels.
Herman Cain is a niche candidate. Thats all he is and thats what the straw poll results display. There are enough voters who will support him to justify him staying in the race for a little while longer and I think he will end up a little bit like Tom Tancredo. There is a chance that Huckabee could endorse Cain, seeing as there are many similarities between the two, and that could breathe some life into his campaign.
Rick Perry was clearly the big winner today, along with Bachmann. But I think Perry will probably dominate the news. I think his campaign should immediately spin the fact that he beat Romney when he wasn’t even on the ballot. I think that within a few weeks Perry will turn all of that momentum into a lead in the polls, over both Romney and Bachmann. I don’t know if he’ll be able to win the nod but I think he has a very good chance.
Romney is running a very foolish campaign. He’s largely bypassing Iowa (which played into his poor straw poll results) in favor of New Hampshire and Nevada. This type of campaign has never been successful in the history of Republican party politics. Also, he is trying to play the moderate which will not work for him, but neither will running as a Conservative as that will be another flip-flop. Romney cannot and will not win.
Newt, Huntsman, and McCotter-
All three are done and, quite frankly they were DOA. I think all will stay in for a while, but in all honesty they are completely hopeless candidacies.