Political Forecast: Maybe It's Time to Look at Relevance of Straw Poll
Excerpted from this post at Political Forecast
Now that Republican presidential front-runners John McCain and Rudy Giuliani have said they'll skip the Aug. 11 Iowa GOP Straw Poll, the party's top fund-raising and early-testing event for the January Caucuses, the big question is what's next? Iowa GOP officials still expect the Straw Poll to be well-attended, particularly since folks like former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich plan on being there. The possibility of Fred Thompson entering the competition could energize uncommitted, and even new, activists to come out. Depending on whom you ask, the decision by the Giuliani and McCain campaigns was either a good one or a bad one, for varying reasons. Des Moines Register political columnist David Yepsen said on his blog: "The Ames straw poll has become a shake-down of candidates that, for some, has replaced the caucuses themselves as a test of viability. Minor candidates are forced to spend valuable resources on doing well in the poll. That's because in past cycles single digit candidates who fail to do well in it have sometimes been forced to drop out of the race because their fund-raising dries up." Polk County Republican Chairman Ted Sporer wrote on his blog: "Of course, I too am baffled at the logic that would lead to the conclusion that the Ames Straw Poll would not have benefited their respective candidacies."