Does the straw poll matter?
The Ames Straw Poll has become a rite of passage for GOP presidential candidates when there is no Republican in the White House. Begun in 1979, it serves as a first indicator of the strength of a candidate’s organization and message. However, the results are not very reliable in predicting who will win Iowa’s caucuses, the GOP nomination, or ultimately, the presidency:
Sources: Republican Party of Iowa, staff reports. Karen Yourish and Laura Stanton/The Washington Post.