Iowa Straw Poll: Votes Per Visit
by Todd Beeton, Mon Aug 13, 2007 at 11:11:32 AM EDT
Chris's post at Open Left on the number of visits each candidate has made to the various early states inspired me to compare the number of votes each Republican competing in the straw poll on Saturday actually received with the number of trips they've actually made to Iowa. The results show a somewhat different picture than merely the finishing order.
Votes Visits V/V Ron Paul 1305 15 87 Mitt Romney 4516 90 50 Mike Huckabee 2587 71 36 Tom Tancredo 1960 67 29 Sam Brownback 2192 115 19 Tommy Thompson 1039 143 7 Duncan Hunter 174 24 7
Ron Paul got the most votes per visit of any candidate, showing clearly that a. pounding the flesh is not the only way to move Iowa voters and b. the online movement that has sprung up around Paul's candidacy can translate to offline real world metrics. While certainly Paul would have liked to have gotten higher than 5th place, this puts his finish in some perspective, although it's unclear whether he'll gain any appreciable momentum from his 5th place finish since the expectations going into Saturday were high. This also seems to indicate that Huckabee's finish was a strong second and Brownback's a weak third. Brownback just did not get the return on his investment of time in the state. Chuck Todd brings us yet another measure of the strength of Huckabee's second place:
In terms of surprises at a straw poll that Romney was destined to win, Huckabee was it. He actually received more votes than he bought, a noble feat in the straw poll. Huckabee's campaign tells First Read they didn't rent one bus...While this is an imperfect measure since it's not clear how long each visit lasted and how many events were held, it's an interesting way to look at Saturday's results. Brownback may say he's sticking in this thing but despite finishing just behind Huckabee, I'd argue they're actually in different tiers in Iowa. It will be interesting to see if the next statewide poll reflects that.
Update [2007-8-13 16:18:30 by Todd Beeton]: Well, the Huckabee campaign may not have had buses but that doesn't mean a good portion of his supporters weren't bused in (h/t mcjoan):
From Iowa Independent:
Voters bused to the Ames Straw Poll by Americans for Fair Taxation helped give a boost to suprise second-place poll winner Mike Huckabee, according to both a spokesman for the group and Huckabee campaign manager Chip Saltsman. Asked about things that might have made the difference for Huckabee, who did not bus voters to the poll and purchased about 1,850 tickets for supporters, Saltsman said, "We talked a lot about the fair tax." The group, better known as FairTax.org, bused about 500 voting Iowans and 1,000 other supporters to the Straw Poll today, according to FairTax.org national director of grassroots Mike Rose.Eye on 08 has more.