Actually, Straw Poll Taught Us Nothing

Florida straw poll too unrepresentative to be useful

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 25, 2011 7:25 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Florida straw poll yesterday that saw Herman Cain trounce the competition means ... well, nothing, writes Ben Adler in the Nation. Cain received 37% of the vote, compared to 15% for Rick Perry and 14% for Mitt Romney. "In the usual manner of these inane expectations’ games, the loss for Perry is seen as worse than for Romney because (he) attempted to win the Florida straw poll and Romney did not," says Adler.

Michele Bachmann's 1.5% has led many pundits to claim that she's a spent force in the nomination cycle, but that's equally absurd, says Adler. At $175 per person, the Florida straw poll just doesn't attract enough voters to be representative of the state's true feelings—Cain's 37% came from just 996 votes. "Straw polls ... are not good proxies for future primary results," he writes. "No such grand conclusions should be drawn from this meaningless, non-binding contest."

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks prior to Florida's President 5 straw poll at the Orange County Convention Center yesterday.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks prior to Florida's President 5 straw poll at the Orange County Convention Center yesterday.   (Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate businessman Herman Cain, speaks to delegates before straw poll during a Florida Republican Party Presidency 5 Convention yesterday.
Republican presidential candidate businessman Herman Cain, speaks to delegates before straw poll during a Florida Republican Party Presidency 5 Convention yesterday.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Herman Cain speaks prior to Florida's President 5 straw poll at the Orange County Convention Center on September 24, 2011 in Orlando. Cain won the straw poll with 37.11%.
Herman Cain speaks prior to Florida's President 5 straw poll at the Orange County Convention Center on September 24, 2011 in Orlando. Cain won the straw poll with 37.11%.   (Getty Images)
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