Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ames Straw Poll

I have a post up over at Plum Line on the results out of Ames (Bachmann edges Paul, Pawlenty a solid but distant third). It's a state-of-the-race overview, basically. No surprises for regular readers here; I think it's probably down to Perry and Romney, now. If GOP elites who were inclined to support the Minnesota Meh really want to stick with him, he could survive and perhaps turn it around, but I don't see much reason to expect that to happen.

Kevin Drum asks:
Wait a second. Everyone expected Bachmann to win, and likewise, everyone knows that Ron Paul has a demonstrated (and meaningless) ability to round up his tiny band of fanatical troops for events like this. So third place isn't too bad for Pawlenty, is it? Or was the "Pawlenty in trouble" media narrative already so set in stone that it didn't matter how well he did?
I don't think that's it. What I think is that we've already seen that Pawlenty isn't raking in money, and we've already seen that he's not showing up in the polls, and we've already seen that he's certainly not a dynamo in debates...but up to this point he's had one strong argument to make to GOP party actors who might have been inclined to support him, but didn't see signs of his viability: he had the best organization in Iowa. And that's not a crazy argument to make! After all, if Pawlenty makes it to the caucuses and then his organization allows him to finish top three...well, that's a viable candidate. What Ames does is to deflate that expectation. And unfortunately for Pawlenty, it could be that he has little left to sell to party actors.

1 comment:

  1. I think Pawlenty helped to create the "media narrative" of his own troubles by going all in on the straw poll. There was no upside for him unless he won the whole thing, which was unlikely when competing against another candidate from Minnesota with more solid, consistent conservative credentials. He had to try to compete in the Iowa caucuses, but he probably should have downplayed the straw poll and not put so many resources into it. His only real hope was to try for a bunch of strong second- and third-place finishes in the early parties to keep himself alive for some moderate states down the line.


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