Top Iowa Republican weighs in on the end of the Ames Straw Poll

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad thinks it is time to bid the Ames Straw Poll goodbye.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Branstad said “the straw poll has outlived its usefulness.”

“It has been a great fundraiser for the party, but I think its days are over,” he said.

The Ames Straw Poll has been around for 33 years, and is touted as the first big test for the prospective Republican presidential nominees. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty put so much emphasis on the poll that he dropped out of the presidential race after a disappointing third place performance.

But in 2011, the straw poll turned out to be an ineffective predictor of success. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann won, but it was her only success. The next day, Texas Gov. Rick Perry entered the race, spiking to the top of the polls and outshining Bachmann’s win. Bachmann went on to place sixth in the Iowa caucuses and she dropped out shortly after.

It also ousted Pawlenty — who many believed could have been a serious contender — from the race.

“You saw what happened the last time,” Branstad told WSJ. “I don’t think candidates will spend the time or money to participate in a straw poll if they don’t see any real benefit coming out of it.”

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