Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Michelle Bachmann Loses the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll – What, Than Can't Be Right

How Winning is Losing in Politics

The results of the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll are in and Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann led the field.

The candidates’ totals were as follows: Bachmann 4,823, Ron Paul 4,671, Tim Pawlenty 2,293, Rick Santorum 1,657, Hermann Cain 1,456, Rick Perry 718, Mitt Romney 567, Newt Gingrich 385 and Jon Huntsman 69.

So how can this be considered a loss?

The answer to that question is that in politics it is not whether you win or lose, but how you do relative to expectations that counts.  By winning the Straw Poll Ms. Bachmann has caused a huge increase in her expectations for next winter’s Iowa Caucuses.

Representative Michele Bachmann greeted supporters after she came out on top of the Iowa straw poll.
Why is this Person Happy?  Doesn't She Know?

She’s the favorite to win the Iowa caucuses next year in a state that has proven tailor-made for her.

So now the Iowa Caucuses are both important and not important for Ms. Bachmann.  If she wins, the win will be discounted  because she was the favorite, and if she wins but not by very much political pundits may even call it a loss.  If she loses, well the loss will be considered devastating because she was expected to win.  In other words, her win in the Straw Poll becomes a “lose – lose” proposition for the Iowa Caucuses.

No Ms. Bachmann
in the Middle of this

Even worse for Ms. Bachmann is the added attention will bring re-newed focus on her views.  These views are not mainstream, heck, they may not even be in the stream at all but lie somewhere on the far right bank of the stream. 

Ms. Bachmann was the victim of just plain bad luck.  Had Mr. Paul won 200 more votes he would have been the winner, and Ms. Bachmann would have had a nice, respectable second place finish with little jump in future expectations.  Losing to Mr. Paul in a Straw Poll is not an event, because Mr. Paul has a small but highly charged group of supporters that result in his regular wins in Straw Polls.  Mr. Paul will not be the Republican nominee.

Mr. Perry - Hopefully Leaving for South Carolina

The early winter lineup for “must wins” in the Republican race is now set.  Ms. Bachmann must win the Iowa Caucuses, because of expectations created by the Ames Straw Poll.  Mr. Romney must win New Hampshire because of his decade long campaign in that state that now serves as one of his many residences.  Mr. Perry must win in South Carolina’s “first in the south primary” because he is the southern conservative candidate. 

That expectations thing is a killer, and Ms. Bachmann did herself no favor by raising hers. 

 Sorry about your loss Ms. Bachmann.

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