Yesterday, Mitt Romney announced he would not be participating in the influential Ames Straw Poll in Iowa this summer. Romney also announced he would not be participating in other straw polls as well.
“Our campaign has made the decision to not participate in any straw polls, whether it’s in Florida, Iowa, Michigan or someplace else” was the official statement from Romney’s camp.
Immediately, Tim Pawlenty reiterated his committment to the Ames Straw Poll and Jon Huntsman‘s camp, in a statement to Orlando Sentinel, said that he would actively participate in the influencital Presidency V straw poll in Florida which will be held Spetember 22-24. These two candidates are vying to be the “anti-Romney” candidate.
For Romney’s camp, skipping the Ames straw poll makes good tactical sense since it lowers expectations for the Iowa Caucuses and allows the campaign to use its considerable resources elsewhere.
For other candidates, such as Herman Cain or Tim Pawlenty and, most likely, Michele Bachmann, the Ames Straw Poll, partly because of the way in which the mainstream media will hype its results, the straw poll will offer a chance for them to make a splash and build some momentum, much in the way Mike Huckabee did after the straw poll in 2007.
Yet, just like a debate in which very few candidates participate, if top-tier candidates like Mitt Romney, or possibly a Sarah Palin, skip the Ames Straw Poll, the famed event may be relegated, in the grand scheme of things, to an event that gives a mid-tier candidate a ticket to the top-tier. Ultimately, the event, if it lacks the top-tier candidates, may be diminshed a bit, just like the coffers of the Iowa Republican Party machine may be as well.