The Spectacle Blog

Voter Turnout, Not Tree-Throwing Contests, Decides Elections

By on 8.13.11 | 2:37PM

Ryan Lizza lands several clean blows against the more absurd elements of the Ames straw poll, but swings a bit too wildly in his conclusion.

But what is so special about a campaign's ability to bus Iowans to Ames? Why not have a contest to see who can make the finest sculpture out of butter or who can shuck ears of corn the fastest? Or, for a real test of strength, a tree-throwing competition? The results would probably be as predictive and as meaningful as Ames.

Um, I think it is pretty obvious that a campaign's ability to identify supporters and turn out the vote is more predictive and meaningful than a tree-throwing competition or making a butter sculpture. And for all its circus-like atmosphere, Ames is less of a far cry from the Iowa caucuses than most straw polls are from the binding main event in their states.

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