Editorial

Straw poll is victim of its own success

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Ames straw poll, a traditional Iowa Republican Party fund raiser, has been canceled, apparently permanently.

We don't have to refer to the event that took place the August before every election year in which the GOP presidential nomination was contested, as "What was formerly known as the Ames straw poll," since plans to move the poll to Boone will never occur.

The Ames straw poll was criticized because of the hype surrounding it and because the poll results do not reflect who the eventual Republican nominee will be or even who will win the most Iowa delegates to the national convention (as we've noted before, neither does the straw polling done at Iowa GOP caucus sites in February, but that is not the focus of this editorial).

Despite the handwringing of the national media for more than three decades over the irrelevance of the Ames straw poll, the national media are responsible for the growing attention to what was initially intended only to be a fund raising event.

High profile presidential candidates decided to skip the event this year, so the state party canceled.

Perhaps there is no fault to be found for ending an event that has run its course, but the straw poll might have survived if the hype hadn't grown beyond the poll's importance.