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:

Does the straw poll matter?
Sources: Republican Party of Iowa, staff reports. Karen Yourish and Laura Stanton/The Washington Post. Published on August 8, 2011, 7:57 p.m.
 
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