After a 90 minute delay caused by the breakdown of a Diebold voting machine (go figure), results of the Iowa straw poll were announced. As expected, Mitt Romney dominated the competition, with Mike Huckabee finishing second, and Sam Brownback coming in third.

Here are the complete results:

1. Romney: 4516 (31.5)
2. Huckabee: 2587 (18.1)
3. Brownback: 2192 (15.3)
4. Tancredo: 1961 (13.7)
5. Paul: 1305 (9.1)
6. T. Thompson: 1039 (7.3)
7. F. Thompson: 203 (1.4)
8. Giuliani: 183 (1.3)
9. Hunter: 174 (1.2)
10. McCain: 101 (1)
11. Cox: 41 (.1)

14,302 ballots cast

“Today, the people of Iowa took the first step towards bringing change to Washington. This important victory sends a signal to grassroots Republican activists across the country that we are working hard to earn their support, and that we are ready to begin the work of strengthening our economy, our military and our families,” Mitt Romney said after the results were announced. The candidates who were expected to finish in the top three did exactly that. The only issue was whether Huckabee or Brownback would have the bragging rights associated with finishing second. “You have taken a minimum amount of resources and made a maximum amount of gain,” Huckabee told his supporters.  While Sen. Brownback said, “I think this is a ticket forward for us. It was pretty close. We were both right in there together.”

The 2007 version of the straw poll drew 10,000 fewer voters than the 1999 edition. If I were to make a guess, I would say that the absence of Giuliani, Thompson, and McCain held down the vote total. It is interesting to note that of the three no shows, only Giuliani stayed away because of the strength of Romney in Iowa. Thompson isn’t a declared candidate, and the prospect of spending any money on a poll that doesn’t count was too rich for cash strapped McCain campaign.

The two biggest losers of the night were Tommy Thompson and Duncan Hunter. Before the vote, Thompson vowed to quit the race if he didn’t finish in the top two, and Hunter was thoroughly bested by the social conservative Brownback and the anti-immigration Tancredo. I think Thompson and Hunter will probably be the next candidates to quit the race. The Ron Paul campaign was aiming for a middle of the pack finish, and that is exactly what they got. Tom Tancredo finished a little higher than some might have thought, but still in the same general area where most thought he would be. For practical purposes everyone besides Romney should be pushed down three slots, because that is likely running order if all the candidates would have participated. The straw poll is great theater and an awesome fundraiser, but it doesn’t fundamentally change this race.

Huckabee and Brownback quotes came from here 

Romney Statement

Straw poll results

 

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