Here are the official results of the Ames Straw Poll, according to a CNN report:
1. Michele Bachmann: 4823 votes
2. Ron Paul: 4671
3. Tim Pawlenty: 2293
4. Rick Santorum: 1657
5. Herman Cain: 1456
6. Mitt Romney: 567
7. Newt Gingrich: 385
8. Jon Huntsman 69
9. Thaddeus McCotter: 35
It’s worth noting that while the Romney campaign made little effort to compete, his name was on the ballot — and he trailed Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who had 718 write-in votes.
If there’s any real news out of this — other than the fact that Bachmann has solidified her position as the apparent Iowa frontrunner — it’s probably Pawlenty’s weak showing. A third-place finish isn’t too big a surprise, but the fact that he garnered less than half of Bachmann’s total today probably won’t help the perceptions that he’s struggling badly.
Chris Cillizza said Pawlenty’s underwhelming showing “will raise major questions about his ability to remain a viable candidate as the race moves forward.” That may seem excessive, but once those media-driven perceptions become commonplace, it’s hard for a candidate to turn the tide.