Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) and the National Review might be ready to kill the Ames Straw Poll. But for now, the fundraiser/media circus that takes place the summer before the Iowa caucuses will live on.
The Des Moines Register reports that a a slim majority of Republican state central committee members favor keeping the poll. They're the ones who make the decision.
Getting rid of the straw poll would likely require electing new committee members. Supporters of Ron Paul make up nearly half the committee after sweeping into power earlier this year. Many see the straw poll as an important grassroots, anti-establishment event. State party chairman A.J. Spiker, who can break committee ties, worked for Paul and has already made his support for the straw poll clear.
The straw poll has never had great predictive power, but in 2011 it proved particularly lame -- Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) won Ames only to place sixth in the Iowa caucuses and drop out of the race. Critics also argue that former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty was pushed out of the presidential race prematurely after performing poorly at Ames. And former Iowa GOP political director Craig Robinson says the poll isn't even the cash cow people think it is.