This is not a joke: Michele Bachmann paid for 6,000 tickets to the Iowa Straw Poll that she then gave away to supporters and other attendees. And 4,823 of those people returned the favor by casting their ballots for her.
In contrast Ron Paul gave away very few tickets yet came-in second by only 152 votes. Yet the media is strangely mute about Paul’s very existence let alone his performance in Iowa. That’s because the media want a three-way between Bachmann, Romney, and Perry – it will be good for ratings.
Paying for votes at the Straw Poll is as old as the poll itself – the first was held in 1979 when George “Daddy” Bush bought the win – only to later lose the nomination to Straw Poll loser Ronald Reagan.
Statistically the Straw Poll is not a good predictor of anything, because it has only been held six times. Based on that small sample it seems to be a good predictor of the outcome of the Iowa caucuses, but also a good predictor of who won’t win the presidency. But all this is up for grabs as the numbers are actually insignificant.
So what is the Iowa Straw Poll actually about? It’s about PR – it’s a way to buy media attention. Or if you’re Tim Pawlenty it’s a good way to discover you don’t have the stomach for national politics.