FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Let the polling begin! The Iowa Straw Poll is the first step to narrowing down a candidate for the Republican ballot for the 2012 Presidential Race. Steven Shine, Chairman of the Allen County Indiana Republicans said “It’s the nation’s first legitimate poll” for the GOP.
Nine Republican candidates will gather at the University of Iowa August 13 to rally supporters and gauge their popularity with Iowa voters. Minnesota Congresswoman, Michele Bachmann is said to be the favorite.
Michael Wolf, Political Science Professor at IPFW said he thinks Bachmann is the one to beat. Shine agreed and said that she has “home court advantage.”
“Michele Bachmann is certainly one of those individuals that is expected to do well. It is her home state, it is a conservative state, and she is a conservative candidate,” Shine said.
Former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney announced in June that he will not participate in the Straw Poll this year. Shine said he thinks being a “no show” could devastate Romney’s campaign.
“Even though he is not actively campaigning in the straw poll events for next Saturday, merely having his name on the ballot and garnering enough votes could send the signal that he doesn't have that all encompassing popularity although he is the front-runner.”
However, Wolf disagreed. Hs said Romney is ahead in the polling so he should do well in Iowa. He does not think Romney’s absence will hurt him and that he is more focused on the polls in New Hampshire and Las Vegas.
"He's already won it and he knows that doesn't do him much good…he's not really going to spend the money to really try and win the Iowa Straw Poll like he did four years ago, only to not end up maybe not having as much chance."
The Iowa Straw Poll is significant because it can make or break the momentum of a candidate’s campaign.
"It could serve as a slingshot and propel little known candidates to the forefront and at the same time it could be the death knell for candidates that expected that their popularity would've been greater than that showed in the poll,” Shine said.
Wolf said the poll is also a numbers game. More money and time spent campaigning is usually said to gain more votes.
“How much money, and how much effort, and how much energy is behind a candidate can be demonstrative in that way. And, that’s why really for some candidates it’s a necessity to show up well.”
Those also in the running: Minister and Businessman Herman Cain of Georgia, former Governor of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty, former U.S. Senator of Pennsylvania Rick Santorum, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, and former Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter.
Those still on the ballot, but will not appearing at the Straw Poll: former Speaker of the House and Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich, and former U.S. Ambassador and Governor of Utah Jon Huntsman, Jr.
Indiana’s NewsCenter will have complete coverage and polling results of the Iowa Straw Poll 2011, August 13.
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