Does the straw poll really matter?

The Ames Straw Poll has become a rite of passage for GOP presidential candidates when there is no incumbent Republican in the White House. Begun in 1979, it serves as a first indicator of the strength of a candidate's organization and message.

Test your political knowledge: Click on the check box of the person you think won each contest, and see how reliable the Ames Straw Poll has been in predicting who wins the Iowa caucus and, ultimately, the GOP nomination.

1980

Straw poll

Iowa caucus

Nomination

George H. W. Bush

Ronald Reagan

Bob Dole

1988

Straw poll

Iowa caucus

Nomination

George H. W. Bush

Pat Robertson

Bob Dole

1996

Straw poll

Iowa caucus

Nomination

Phil Gramm

Pat Buchanan

Bob Dole

2000

Straw poll

Iowa caucus

Nomination

George W. Bush

Ron Paul

Steve Forbes

2008

Straw poll

Iowa caucus

Nomination

Mitt Romney

Mike Huckabee

John McCain

Source: Staff reports. Graphic: Heather Billings and Karen Yourish, The Washington Post. Published Aug. 9, 2011.