The official Ames Straw Poll ballot was released today, and boy are there going to be some pissed-off Republicans. Perhaps most noteworthy is that neither Sarah Palin or Rick Perry — who just yesterday said he was still mulling a presidential run — were included. While the straw poll is in no way a binding vote, it is often looked to as an early bellwether of a candidate's support. And since the poll tends to favor candidates who are popular among the state's evangelical voters, this could be a pretty big missed opportunity for Perry, who was being seriously courted by social conservatives.
The other surprise was actually two names included on the ballot: those of ostensible front-runner Mitt Romney and (is he even still running?) Newt Gingrich. Both had declared they would sit out the affair, no doubt aware they'd place near the bottom. A valiant effort, Mitt, but looks like you'd better get to work preparing an alternative story for why Iowa Republicans just aren't that into you. And as for those die-hard Palin and Perry (or even Giuliani) fans out there in Iowa, a shred of good news: There's always the write-in option.
Rick Perry left off Ames Straw Poll ballot [Politico]