OratIowa straw pollTue Aug 14, 2007 14:35
I'm not sure what precisely this article is implying, but there are two things to keep in mind:
1: Each candidate's campaign pre-bought tons of tickets to give out free to people in hopes that the recipients would vote for them. Everyone expected there to be about 20-25,000 votes cast, so it should not be a surprise that in total, the candidates pre-purchased somewhere close to that number of tickets. But with the low turnout, those candidates wound up with a bunch of extra tickets on their hands. This almost CERTAINLY accounts for the fact that way more tickets were sold than votes cast.
2: There were 3 buildings where voting took place, and a total of 4 polling stations. There were a total of 4 vote monitors from each candidate who were allowed to oversee voting (one for each polling station). In the end, only 4 candidates, (that I saw) actually decided to send observers: Romney, Brownback, Huckabee, and Ron Paul. I was one of those observers for Ron Paul. The Ron Paul observers were split into two 4-hour shifts. I worked the whole day (2 shifts), each shift in a different building. Most of the voters were wearing either a shirt, a sticker, a hat, or a button that indicated a particular candidate they supported. Based upon this evidence, I can tell you that the vote counts were very similar to what I observed. So I believe the vote counts are very accurate.
There are several reasons why Ron Paul did not come in at the top:
1. He did not spend nearly as much money as some of the other candidates (though he did beat some candidates who had spent more money than him).
2. He did not spend nearly as much time as some of the other candidates (though he did beat some candidates who had spent much more time than him).
3. He did not have as much name recognition as the other candidates (though he DEFINITELY beat candidates who had more name recognition).
4. He did not harp on some of the issues that Iowans wanted to hear about: immigration (Tancredo) and religion (Huckabee).
So in the end, the numbers in the final straw poll are quite believable, and in fact reflect very well on Ron Paul. Most analysis I've read (some in well-known papers) shows Huckabee and Ron Paul the big winners in the straw poll because they didn't buy their votes, and Ron Paul in particular because he barely spent any time in Iowa campaigning compared to the other guys. Let's move on and not have this "us-versus-them" outlook. While in Iowa, I saw firsthand how this negative outlook winds up costing us credibility with other voters.
We must emphasize to everyone what a great victory it was that we did as well as we did. We received FAR more votes than any of the public polling would have indicated. And good thing for us, this straw poll is not being seen as very conclusive given the very low turnout.
Soldier on! Our battle is not done, but it will be won!
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