What are the Straw Polls Saying?

On September 4, 2007, in General, by Neil Stevens

Commentators have made much hay out of various straw poll results, placing great importance on them for lesser-known candidates. But what exactly are they saying? Let’s find out.

Oklahomans for Ron Paul Wiki has a nice chart of a large number of straw polls, which is no surprise given that Ron Paul’s supporters have made great efforts to win straw polls. Here is a chart showing how many times each remaining candidate has finished first, second, or third in any of those straw polls:

Straw Poll Finishes

It turns out if you weight the finishes by place (five points for first, three for second, one for third), the chart doesn’t change much:

Weightd Straw Poll Finishes

Romney, Thompson, and Paul all trade places, but they’re still far ahead of the pack.

We all know Ron Paul isn’t going to win this thing, though, so let’s exclude him. Yes, yes, yes, I know there are all kinds of problems with just deleting Ron Paul’s votes and seeing who would have finishes where without him, but I’m curious. So here we go:

Straw Poll Finishes without Ron Paul

Now we’re seeing some change. All other candidates gain, including Tancredo who goes from El Zilcho to three third place finishes, but by far the biggest winner is Rudy Giuliani, who soars above the pack and into a solid third place. Hunter and Huckabee then make up their own tier, above McCain, Brownback, and Tancredo.

Weighted Straw Poll Finishes without Ron Paul

Once again, weighting the results flip-flops the two leaders, because Thompson has slightly more first place finishes but Romney has more overall finishes, but it’s still clearly a three man race.

If straw polls mean anything then Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, or Rudy Giuliani will be representing the Republican Party in November 2008, with no doubt about it. It’s a three man race, and the neck-and-neck frontrunners are Thompson and Romney.


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