Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bachmann and Paul Make Hay in Iowa Straw

A member of Congress who voted to send the U. S. into default is Iowa’s choice for the country’s next president as Michele Bachmann narrowly wins the state’s straw poll over Ron Paul, who would take the government out of everything, with Tim Pawlenty a distant third.

The non-binding nonsensical balloting will nonetheless be parsed for political meaning in the coming days as lesser candidates like Rick Santorum, Herman Cain and even Pawlenty have to rethink their chances in next year’s primaries.

Rick Perry, who was in South Carolina, finished ahead of Mitt Romney, who didn’t campaign but took part in the TV debate this week.

Now we know who evangelicals in the Corn Belt would put in the White House, but we’ll have to wait months to find out what the 99.99 percent of other Americans think.

For fans of charts and graphs, New York Times resident wonk Nate Silver has a presentation to show that the Straw Poll predicted the success in the caucuses of George H. W. Bush in 1980 and Mike Huckabee in 2008, picking “a variety of ‘intangible’ factors that don’t show up well in other variables, and therefore serves a useful role as a leading indicator.”

Well, yes. But neither won the Republican nomination in Iowa’s zany processes of repudiating the tradition of “one man, one vote.”

Update: As Bachmann does a victory lap on the Sunday talk shows, Pawlenty drops out of the race, saying only about the other Minnesotan he bashed in the debate Thursday night that she will be “tested” in the nomination contest.

“I think she’s qualified,” he says. “She’s going to have to make her case.”

Onward and downward.

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