Ames Straw Poll: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Elections in Iowa
Federal government Flag of the United States

Presidential Elections
2000 · 2004 · 2008

Iowa caucuses
Democratic: 1976 · 1992 · 2000 · 2004 · 2008
Republican: 2000 · 2008
Ames Straw Poll

United States Senate Elections
2002 · 2004 · 2008 · 2010

United States House Elections
2006 · 2008 · 2010

State government Flag of Iowa

Gubernatorial Elections
2002 · 2006 · 2010

Iowa Senate Elections
2006 · 2008 · 2010

Iowa House Elections
2006 · 2008 · 2010

Iowa Special Elections

Logo for the 2007 Ames Straw Poll

The Ames Straw Poll is a straw poll that takes place in Ames, Iowa, on a Saturday in August of years in an election cycle in which the Republican presidential nomination seems to be undecided (that is, in years without an incumbent Republican President running for re-election). Though several different pre-Iowa Caucus straw polls take place in Iowa, the Ames Straw Poll is by far the most prominent, because it draws voters from all over the state rather than just the local area (Ames is near the geographic center of Iowa, making travel there more convenient), and is thus also commonly known as the Iowa Straw Poll. The Ames Straw Poll was first held in 1979.



The poll takes place among attendees of a fundraising dinner benefiting the Iowa Republican Party. Before the vote, each candidate is given a chance to make a short speech to the attendees.

Non-Republicans are allowed to vote in the Ames Straw Poll. However, all voters must be 18 years of age, be legal residents of the state of Iowa, and purchase a ticket to the fundraising dinner.[1] Voters have their hands stamped or their thumbs dipped in ink when entering the voting area so that they cannot vote twice. Ballots are put into electronic voting machines.


As a straw poll, the Ames Straw Poll's results are non-binding and have no official effect on the presidential primaries. However, the straw poll is frequently seen as a first test of organizational strength in Iowa by the news media and party insiders. As such, it can become very beneficial for the winning candidate on the national level because it builds momentum for their campaign, enhances their aura of inevitability, and shows off a superior field operation.[2]

Since its founding, the winner of the Ames Straw Poll has gone on to win the Republican presidential nomination two out of five times. Three out of five winners (including one of the winners of the 1995 tie), have gone on to win the Iowa Caucus.

On a more local level, the Ames Straw Poll gives a major boost to the local economy.[3] Thousands of people, including journalists, campaign staffers, and voters, arrive in town around the time of the poll. The Ames Straw Poll is one of the Iowa Republican Party's most lucrative fundraising events.[3]


The Ames Straw Poll was formerly criticized for having many voters who were not residents of Iowa. Candidates would bus in supporters from other states. However, beginning with the 1999 Ames Straw Poll, all voters were required to show proof of legal residence in Iowa.[3] Before the 1999 Ames Straw Poll, voter fraud was widespread: many individuals managed to vote repeatedly by visiting the bathroom and washing off the stamp on the back of their hand which indicated they had voted. Beginning with the 1999 Ames Straw Poll, the ink used for hand-stamping was changed to one that resisted being washed off.[4] In 2007, instead of hand-stamping, thumbs were dipped in indelible ink.[5]

In 2007, the Ames Straw Poll has also been criticized for having only 14,302 voters participating in 2007, compared to about 23,000 voters eight years earlier in the 1999 polls, and for failing to have three of the four leading candidates participate in the poll, Rudolph Giuliani, John McCain and Fred Thompson. Consequently the votes received by Mitt Romney and second-place finisher Mike Huckabee have failed to demonstrate the consequence of full competition among all candidates.[6 ] The poll has been criticized for heavily favoring better-funded candidates, as better-funded candidates are able to afford transportation costs to bus in more supporters and to reimburse those supporters for meal tickets.[4] After the 2007 Ames Straw Poll, some Ron Paul supporters contended that the Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold Election Systems) voting machines were inaccurate or rigged.[7] They said that the announced vote was much fewer than the number of tickets sold and that exit polls showed Paul doing much better.



Summary of results

Date of Ames Straw Poll Associated primaries and/or elections Winner of Ames Straw Poll Winner of Iowa Caucus Winner of Republican primaries Winner of presidential election Price of a dinner ticket
August 1979 United States presidential election, 1980 George H. W. Bush George H. W. Bush Ronald Reagan Ronald Reagan
August 1987 United States presidential election, 1988 Pat Robertson Bob Dole George H. W. Bush George H. W. Bush
August 19, 1995 United States presidential election, 1996 tie: Bob Dole, Phil Gramm Bob Dole Bob Dole Bill Clinton
August 14, 1999 United States presidential election, 2000 George W. Bush George W. Bush George W. Bush George W. Bush $25 [3][4]
August 11, 2007 Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008, United States presidential election, 2008 Mitt Romney Mike Huckabee John McCain Barack Obama $35 [1][8 ]

Detailed year-by-year results

August 1979

George H. W. Bush won the first Ames Straw Poll, which had low voter turnout, but Ronald Reagan would go on to win the Republican nomination.[9 ]

August 1987

Source of results: Iowa Republican Party[10]

Place Candidate Votes Percentage
1 Pat Robertson 1,293 33.6%
2 Bob Dole 958 24.9%
3 George H. W. Bush 864 22.5%
4 Jack Kemp 520 13.5%
5 Pete duPont 160 4.2%
6 Alan Heslop 13 0.3%
7 Alexander Haig 12 0.3%
8 Ben Fernandez 8 0.2%
9 Others 15 0.4%

Pat Robertson won the 1987 Ames Straw Poll. Despite finishing second in the Ames Straw Poll, Bob Dole would go on to win the Iowa Caucus. Despite finishing third in the Ames Straw Poll, George H. W. Bush would go on to win the Republican nomination and the Presidency.[9 ][11 ]

August 19, 1995

Source of results: Iowa Republican Party[10]

Place Candidate Votes Percentage
1 (tie) Bob Dole 2,582 23.6%
1 (tie) Phil Gramm 2,582 23.6%
3 Pat Buchanan 1,922 17.5%
4 Lamar Alexander 1,156 10.5%
5 Alan Keyes 804 7.3%
6 Morry Taylor 803 7.3%
7 Richard Lugar 466 4.3%
8 Pete Wilson 129 1.2%
9 Bob Dornan 87 0.8%
10 Arlen Specter 67 0.6%

10,958 voters participated in the 1995 Ames Straw Poll. Bob Dole and Phil Gramm won with a tie. Bob Dole would go on to win the Republican nomination.[9 ]

August 14, 1999

Sources of results: Iowa Republican Party[10], PBS[12]

Place Candidate Votes Percentage
1 George W. Bush 7,418 31.3%
2 Steve Forbes 4,921 20.8%
3 Elizabeth Dole 3,410 14.4%
4 Gary Bauer 2,114 8.9%
5 Patrick Buchanan 1,719 7.3%
6 Lamar Alexander 1,428 6.0%
7 Alan Keyes 1,101 4.6%
8 Dan Quayle 916 3.9%
9 Orrin Hatch 558 2.4%
10 John McCain 83 0.4%
11 John Kasich 9 0.04%
12 Bob Smith 8 0.03%

A record 23,685 voters participated in the 1999 Ames Straw Poll, held at the Hilton Coliseum.[9 ] George W. Bush was cemented as the frontrunner by the results of the Ames Straw Poll and eventually went on to win the primaries and the presidential election; his only serious challenge afterwards for the Republican nomination came from John McCain, whose poor performance in the straw poll was due to the fact that he did not officially declare his candidacy until September, the month after the straw poll. Due to poor results in the Ames Straw Poll, Lamar Alexander and Dan Quayle both dropped out of the presidential race immediately after the Ames Straw Poll.[4] Elizabeth Dole and Pat Buchanan dropped out of the Republican race within a month after the Ames Straw Poll, though Pat Buchanan continued his presidential campaign as a Reform Party candidate instead.

August 11, 2007

Sources of results: CBS News[13], Des Moines Register[14 ], KCCI [15 ]

Place Candidate Votes Percentage
1 Mitt Romney 4,516 31.6%
2 Mike Huckabee 2,587 18.1%
3 Sam Brownback 2,192 15.3%
4 Tom Tancredo 1,961 13.7%
5 Ron Paul 1,305 9.1%
6 Tommy Thompson 1,039 7.3%
7 Fred Thompson 203 1.4%
8 Rudy Giuliani 183 1.3%
9 Duncan Hunter 174 1.2%
10 John McCain 101 0.7%
11 John H. Cox 41 0.3%

14,302 ballots were cast in the 2007 Ames Straw Poll,[15 ] which took place on August 11 at Iowa State University.[9 ]

In June, two months before the poll, presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani and John McCain announced that they would skip the 2007 Ames Straw Poll, while Fred Thompson had yet to officially enter the race. The Iowa Republican Party decided to include their names on the ballots anyway.[9 ][16 ] Mitt Romney won the straw poll, as had been widely predicted prior to the event.[5][14 ]

Tommy Thompson dropped out of the Presidential campaign on August 12, 2007, one day after finishing in sixth place in the Ames Straw Poll.[17][18][19]


  1. ^ a b Dorman, Todd (2007-07-20). "Iowa Straw Poll Regaining Luster". Quad-City Times. Retrieved 2007-07-23.  
  2. ^ Yagielski, Janine, and Kathleen Hayden (1999-08-15). "Bush wins Iowa GOP straw poll". CNN. Retrieved 2007-07-23.  
  3. ^ a b c d "Behind the Straw Poll". Online NewsHour. PBS. 1999-08-13. Retrieved 2007-07-23.  
  4. ^ a b c d MattC (2007-04-26). "The Ames Straw Poll". Retrieved 2007-07-23.  
  5. ^ a b Glover, Mike (2007-08-11). "Romney Wins Iowa Straw Poll As Expected". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-08-11.  
  6. ^ Balz, Dan (2007-08-13). "Enough Already With the Straw Poll". Washington Post (Washington Post). Retrieved 2007-09-09.  
  7. ^ "Ron Paul Supporters Denounce Iowa Diebold Use". Free Market News. 2007-08-03. Retrieved 2007-09-06.  
  8. ^ Beaumont, Thomas (2007-06-25). "Straw Poll Details Jell". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2007-09-06.  
  9. ^ a b c d e f Beaumont, Thomas (2007-06-18). "Straw poll No-Shows Zap Iowa's Relevance, Some Fear". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2007-07-23.  
  10. ^ a b c "Straw Poll Info". Iowa Republican Party. Retrieved 2007-09-06.  
  11. ^ Rothenburg, Stuart (2007-05-21). "For Republicans, Iowa Straw Poll Could Offer Some Answers". The Rothenburg Political Report. Retrieved 2007-07-23.  
  12. ^ "The First GOP Test: Online NewsHour Coverage of the Iowa Straw Poll". Online NewsHour. PBS. Retrieved 2007-07-23.  
  13. ^ Ververs, Vaughn (2007-08-11). "Romney Wins Iowa GOP Straw Poll". CBS News. Retrieved 2007-08-11.  
  14. ^ a b Beaumont, Thomas, and Jennifer Jacobs (2007-08-11). "Romney Wins Straw Poll, Huckabee in 2nd". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2007-08-11.  
  15. ^ a b "Mitt Romney Wins Straw Poll". KCCI. 2007-08-12. Retrieved 2007-08-12.  
  16. ^ Cilliza, Chris (2007-06-06). "Giuliani, McCain Skipping Ames Straw Poll". The Fix. The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-07-23.  
  17. ^ "Tommy Thompson Officially Ends Presidential Bid". The Boston Globe. 2007-08-13. Retrieved 2007-09-06.  
  18. ^ "Thompson Drops Out of Race After Poor Showing in Iowa Poll". PBS. 2007-08-13. Retrieved 2007-09-06.  
  19. ^ "Tommy Thompson Bows Out of Race". The Caucus. The New York Times. 2007-08-12. Retrieved 2007-09-06.  

See also

External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address