Poll participants were asked to predict the top five finishers at the straw poll, and answers were ranked in order. A first place vote was worth five points, a second place vote was worth four points, et cetera, meaning 150 points was the maximum one candidate could achieve.......
Romney scored 144 points out of 150 possible. Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, who, according to an ABC/WP poll of Iowa voters, is the top choice of 5% of likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers, finished a distant second, with 59 points. Tancredo, though, led national front-runners
Tancredo's second-place finish, if that lead holds on Saturday, would be a massive coup for a campaign driven largely by the congressman's views on illegal immigration and the war on terror. 20% of respondents, a slight plurality, said Tancredo had the most to gain at the poll, and that his performance would improve his standings in national polls. Aside from Romney, Tancredo was the only candidate to receive any first-place votes.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, a libertarian in the truest sense of the word, did not receive a single vote in the poll. The lone anti-war voice on the GOP stage, Paul would be unlikely to earn support, or even notice, of people involved in Republican circles enough to be an elected board member.
Now, this poll is flawed as a predictive tool. Ames isn't about what the GOP leadership wants or thinks. The Ames straw poll is about who has supporters who will spend a day for their candidate. I expect both Tancredo and Paul will do better than commonly expected-regardless of how good the free eats are provided by Romney's wealthy backers.
I don't think Ames can be won by folks that hope for jobs or pork in the event of a GOP victory.
I don't think what the Iowa GOP leadership wants matters that much-especially for folks coming back from Iraq that might go to Ames because they are having trouble finding a job—and feel economic issues are ignored by Democrats.
I think the situation is getting more and more volatile, and we just may see a few parties crashed.