The votes are in … and Michele Bachmann has won the Iowa straw poll.
With more than 16,000 votes cast—a reported 17 percent increase since the last straw poll in 2007—this year’s contest is of course very unscientific. In the last poll, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney came in first place, with eventual GOP nominee Sen. John McCain coming in 10th place.
Thanks in part to strong Tea Party support, Rep. Bachmann garnered first place—followed by libertarian favorite Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Pawlenty, who was once considered a strong frontrunner, has struggled in recent weeks. But according to the New York Times, his third place spot found the former governor pledging to continue his campaign.
From the Times:
“ ‘We made progress in moving from the back of the pack into a competitive position for the caucuses, but we have a lot more work to do,” Mr. Pawlenty said. “This is a long process to restore America — we are just beginning and I’m looking forward to a great campaign.'
The lasting impact of the victory for Mrs. Bachmann is unclear. Mr. Perry, who proclaimed he is running even as the straw poll voting was underway, will immediately reshape the race and could present a direct challenge to Mrs. Bachmann’s claim to represent conservative and religious voters.”
Mitt Romney, who won the same poll in 2007, did not actively participate in this contest, choosing instead to focus on the battleground state of New Hampshire.
Rep. Bachmann's campaign played a large part in her win, reportedly handing out some 6,000 of the $30 tickets to help bolster her numbers--the sort of tactic which is part of the reason the straw poll is often considered more of a contest for bragging rights than a harbinger of the Republican field.
As to Rep. Bachmann's chances in the general election, head over to David Weigel's blog on the topic, which also has the percentage results for all participants.