AMES, Iowa (AP) — Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann won a test vote of Iowans on Saturday, a show of popularity and organizational strength for the tea party favorite five months before the state’s caucuses kick off the GOP presidential nominating season.

The result is the first indication of what Iowans think of the field of Republicans competing for the chance to challenge President Barack Obama next fall. But it’s hardly predictive of who will win the winter Iowa contest, much less the party nod or the White House.

Rather, Saturday’s outcome suggests that Bachmann has a certain level of support and, perhaps even more important, the strongest get-out-the-vote operation and widest volunteer base in a state whose caucuses require those elements.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul finished a close second while former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty placed a distant third.

“We have a lot more work to do,” Pawlenty said, making clear he wasn’t dropping out despite a disappointing finish. “We are just beginning and I’m looking forward to a great campaign.”

The results of the nonbinding vote, held on the Iowa State University campus, came just hours after Texas Gov. Rick Perry entered the race.

“I full well believe I’m going to win,” Perry told South Carolina voters on a conference call before delivering his first speech as a candidate.

“It’s time to get America working again,” he declared in Charleston, S.C. “America is not broken. Washington, D.C. is broken.”

Despite Perry’s best efforts to overshadow the day, the epicenter of the presidential contest was in this Midwestern town, where nearly 17,000 Iowans cast ballots during a daylong political festival, a late-summer ritual held every four years.

In speeches throughout the day, candidates scouted for support by assailing Obama and offering themselves as the answer to an America plagued by high unemployment, rising debt and stock market swings.

“We know what America needs. But unfortunately Barack Obama has no clue. He’s like a manure spreader in a windstorm,” Pawlenty said, adding: “Mr. President, get the government off our backs.” That elicited chants of his nickname: “T-Paw! T-Paw! T-Paw!”

Pawlenty had a lot on the line. He’s ranked low in polls and was looking to prove he was still a viable candidate. He argued that he was the candidate of results, given his record as Minnesota governor.

Bachmann stressed faith and her Iowa roots — she was born in Waterloo — as well as her opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage. She earned cheers when she declared: “We are going to make Barack Obama a one-term president.”

Bachmann, riding high since entering the race earlier this summer, had hoped that a strong finish would give her even more momentum just as Perry looks to infringe on her base of tea party and evangelical support. She invoked God and faith as she stressed what she called her conservative values, saying: “In Iowa, we are social conservatives and we will never be ashamed of being social conservatives.”

Paul, with a following among libertarian-leaning voters, wanted a surprise showing that might convince Republicans he was more mainstream than not in his second shot at the GOP nomination. He referenced his fellow Texan’s entrance in the race and said he didn’t anticipate many of his supporters jumping ship for what he called a “super-establishment candidate.”

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, businessman Herman Cain and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia also were on the ballot. So were GOP front-runner Mitt Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, though they weren’t competing in the contest.

Perry and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who made a splash Friday when she visited the state fair, weren’t listed. But their backers planned write-in campaigns that could outpace candidates who have spent months trying to line up supporters to participate.

The straw poll isn’t a scientific poll at all; it amounts to a popularity contest and a test of organizational strength.

Poor showings usually force some candidates, mostly those who are not well-known and are struggling to raise money, to abandon their bids. That could happen this year, too.

The straw poll has a mixed record of predicting the outcome of the precinct caucuses.

In 2008, Romney won the straw poll, but the big news was the surprising second-place showing of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses, but dropped from the race soon after. Sen. John McCain, who eventually won the nomination, didn’t compete in the straw poll and finished in 10th place.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (50)
  1. Dumfounded says:

    PT Barnum was one smart dude.

    1. O'Reilly warns Bachmann about economic disaster. says:

      Bill O’Reilly Warns Rep. Michele Bachmann On Debt Fight: ‘You Are The Renegade Here’ – 07/12/11

      1. nondairycreamer says:

        I guess I was mistaken. I thought the Republicas were telling lies. I didn’t know that the definitioon of corporation has changed to mean people OR that subserviant means respect. I need a new dictionary.

  2. Bill says:

    Just more republican douchbaggery.

    1. Very Smart says:

      I agree. Everybody knows that Ron Paul is the people’s choice, regardless of party. Bachmann is the establishment candidtae they are pushing before Perry gets in

    2. idtapit says:

      Not really. She will get my vote for 2 reasons. First and foremost, because she has a great political agends. Second, because she is so smoking hot.

  3. Tom L says:

    I guess someone had to win it….shes probably somewheres wondering what shes gonna do with all them straws, where to put and what she might hang on the “pole” she thinks is being delivered.

    Them republicans….funny people.

    1. Tom says:

      @ Tom L

      She can play pick up sticks with them straws LOL

    2. meow says:

      LMAO … most likely true. Good post!

  4. Lori says:

    Call the EPA. I didnt know Iowa was in need of help. Their groundwater is in a seriously toxic condition. Amazing and scary how she operates.

  5. Mike says:

    Yippee! I am so happy for the Republican party. I can’t think of a better person to represent them and divide the party further. The unfortunate thing for Michele, a primary candidate winning the Iowa straw poll does not translate into nominee and never has. Think Mike Hucabee in 2008. Get the picture?
    Hey Timmy, are ready to call is quits now?

  6. Jack Anderson says:

    Interesting to me as an avowed Independent, with a voting record to prove it, how quick the liberal contingent is to jump on ‘CCOs site to spew their rath. Easy to see through and I truly belive that logical thinkers can see through it as well. Poor souls. Bet they really think they are accomplishing something. We, the decision makers who will determine the outcome of most elections, will bide our time, evaluate who has what to offer, and make sound choices.

    1. M B says:

      The problem is that most don’t bide their time, and even fewer actually look past the rhetoric, lies, and the slanted political spin and see what’s going on. They just decide, “Hey, that’s my party, and I’ll be danged if I’m ever changing parties, so I’ll vote for them!”
      “Problems cannot be solved with the same level of thinking that created them.”-Albert Einstein
      Pretty much exemplifies our political situation to a tee.

    2. Amy w says:

      Does anyone know how much she may have made from her Foster Parenting Business? What do they pay per child?

  7. Tom says:

    Her popularity won’t last! Sooner or later she will have to start talking to REAL people and not the same nuts until nov 2012!

  8. Murph says:

    The turd finished third! Hopefully he gets the hint and gets out of the race.Finishing third to Bachmann would really demoralize a person who had morals to lose! Nobody has even opened his closet yet and already the voters shun him!

  9. Murph says:

    Pawlenty even if he posted the defintions of human,inhuman,humane and unhumane,inhumane and all the other adjectives that will always follow him on his bathroom mirror will never see what is readily apparent to voters.The real GOP voters will take even the insane over the inhumane anytime! That in itself is rather scary,a Pawlenty win would have been absolutely horrifying!

  10. Angus says:

    I thought all those Iowa jokes we told were funny. I just now realized, THEY WERE TRUE!

    When JFK ran for President we heard the Republicans in an uproar because “The Pope will dictate to the White House”, “we can’t have a Catholic president”, “etc. etc. etc. Now the Republicans are saying, “We need Christian values” although their treatment of the less fortunate, the old, and the handicapped show they are not really Christian.

    Tell me again they are not hypocrits

  11. Lucifer says:

    Obama won’t even be in the general election. He will pull out prematurely at the last minute when the democratic party realizes that he has no chance of winning a second term. By then he will have amassed a fortune in funny money from his zombie supporters and he will walk away with it all. Hahahahahaha.

    A new candidate will be injected into the race and the liberal media will get behind him/her with the same enthusiasm and slanted support that they gave Obummer….. And all the uneducated liberal zombies will fall in love with their candidate once again with visions of free money for everyone.

    You heard it here first folks. Obummer is out and he will take your money with him. The new President of America will be Rubio with Ryan as his vice.

    1. Deep Thinker says:

      So you think political candidates get to keep their compaign money for their personal use? Wow…and what did you calll Obama supporters “uneducated liberal zombies….lol….what a dope

      1. Gjkeeper says:

        I am sure you are very well educated. However,
        Obama is above the law – of course he gets to keep the money!

  12. Lucifer says:

    Has anyone else noticed how large Michelle Obummers behind is getting lately? I guess all of those white house social events have taken a toll on her behind. Just saying….

    1. jimmy says:

      What did things get boring over at Storm front or did Michele Tafoya call on all her little Nazi’s to post here.

  13. drts says:

    Grew up in Iowa. Know first hand all about the born again, Armageddon crowd and the mindless anti-gubment idiots, with money hidden in their mattresses and ammunition in their fruit cellers, who voted for this ignorant woman. Who cares?

    1. CarolO says:

      She says she’s a 7th generation Iowan. That would make her 300 years old. She was born in Iowa and moved as a young child to MN. Her parents were from Wisconsin. Another of her many tall tales.

  14. CarolO says:

    God heavens. She bought and handed out over 6000 votes to people and got 4800 votes back. 29% of the 1700 total and this is a big celebration? The last board of education election had that many votes.

    But what’s up with Bachmann? When she’s in Iowa, she an Iowan. When she’s in Minnesota, she’s a Minnesotan.

  15. Kman says:

    Wow I knew the Republican Party was split but I never thought it would come to this.Guess the Republicans still aren’t ready to step up too help clean up the Bush Mess

  16. Pat says:

    I would love to see her debate Obama.

    After it was over, there would be pieces of Obama in her stool

  17. Gjkeeper says:

    @kmam – I thought obamie was going to clean up Bush’s mess – you know like in three years. You should know by now his promises are empty, but at least he is sticking up for the baby killers & pushing extra rights for gays on everybody else. You should be very proud!

  18. MartinC says:

    Bachmann’s strawpoll win only proves that political droppings float….

  19. Dismayed says:

    oh great,…the first sign of the end of days…

  20. Bryson Powers says:

    Well, we now know Iowans have a tremendous sense of humor.

  21. Brerwster says:

    How is it someone this bat chit crazy can win Anything???, I fear the American people!

  22. just me says:

    Her mouth looks like a fly trap……….I’d never want to be a fly on the wall around her!!

  23. Norge says:

    “Cco is again censoring the right on the comments section, the left can lie and spew their hate and venom out without fear, but if the right bites back…’Cco censors us out. So lets try to tweak-out the liberal-paid censors a little bit. All the hate and venom from the public_teat_feeding_union_goon_funded_l00ney_left is really justt a primal-political scream of fear as they watch the train-wreck of their political messiah unfold before their eyes in slow-motion. They scream, because like a train wreck, they cannot stop it…2012 is coming, it is getting closer every day, and when Nov. 2012 gets here Real Americans will again take charge from the spoiled screaming brats who have been raised in an entitlment-enviorment. The public_t–t they have been feeding at is dry, now they will have to earn like everyone else. It scares the hell out of them to have to face the reality that they will have to finance the operation of their own bong.

    1. Purple on AND off the field says:

      Independents will decide this next election. The religious right will find out that the evangelical vote (those crazy christians) will maintain their 14% of the vote. So Santorum, Perry, Bachmann—you better start prayin’ for bigger things, rather than for the debt to go away. Strip Newt of his character issues and I’d say we got somethin’ there, but few can do that. I like Huntsman, he’s honest– as a politician can be. Herman–love him, but agree that American’s don’t get his jokes or valuable competence. I don’t like Mitt–he reminds me of a rugby coach. And Ron Paul…now, that’s my guy. He called all of the issues we face now, flippin’ years ago. And the coming issues; the dollar bubble, stock market bubble, gov’t debt bubble—he’s been calling those since the burst. I want a dude that can go into Washington and do what’s right–with a “nobody owns me” and we’re gonna feel some pain kinda attitude. There’s only 2 guys available fitting the criteria—Herman and Ron. (I didn’t count t-pay for obvious reasons)

      1. Mark from Minnesota Tax Waste says:

        Don’t know much about politics do you?

  24. Ron says:

    Hahahahaha……..”bring it on”.

  25. Mark from Minnesota Tax Waste says:

    Bachmann 2012!!!!!! Stop the spending!!!

    1. insignificant says:

      certainly,Ron Paul is more knowledgable in U.S. economic policy,thaN Bach-wo-man,eh? He’s the only one tellin’ the truth of the unaffordability of policing the world.

    2. rcam says:

      as long as they don’t stop spending on you, right

  26. BigWheezy says:

    I guess when 4,800 odd Iowans say you are good enough to be POTUS you all of a sudden become frontrunner for that office. Sheesh! What’s this country coming to. I always thought Iowans were nuts. Now I know for sure.

  27. Mr. Fister says:

    In Iowa, the biggest pig always takes first prize, right?

  28. Lucifer says:

    The democratic party has been hijacked by the progressive socialist movement and no longer represents the views of the working class. Socialism is their prime objective and they could care less about the plight of working class Americans. For all of you old party democrats that think you must vote democrat because they are the party of the working class… WAKE UP! Look at other countries that are socialist and examine how they treat their pee-on class. Most people in these countries live in shanty shacks, eat rats and other animals that they are able to trap and are refused medical care unless they can pay cash for services.

    Our country has lost its way from the influence of the socialist progressive movement over the past 20-30 years. Free market capitalism has always been the engine of growth and power in America. Free market capitalism is what gave our senior class the American dream, good jobs and American pride. Don’t you want those things for your children and grandchildren? Why would you want to give your children a USSR or communist China future? Look at what Obummer and his political party has done to destroy America and its constitution in just 2 1/2 years and imagine how America will look in 4 years if he is re-elected. Obummer is spending America into oblivion and enjoying the good life while the American middle class has been destroyed. He travels the world bowing to foreign leaders and apologizing for Americas past. Is this any way for an American president to act?

    1. rcam says:

      spoken like a true rich person that the republicans want to protect

      1. Sue says:

        And what is wrong with being rich? What is wrong with earning money? Is it because you cant?

  29. Incredulous1 says:

    The significance of a few bus loads of Republican morons looking for a free pork sandwich and an ice cream cone is, well, incredulous.

  30. nondairycreamer says:

    Relax people it’s only Iowa. Doesn’t mean the rest of the country is nuts too.

    Or does it?

  31. rcam says:

    if the media would stop talking about her maybe she will go away

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