McCain, Giuliani skip Iowa straw poll, Romney wins?

From USAToday:

The future of the Ames Republican straw poll was cast into doubt Wednesday after first Rudy Giuliani and then John McCain decided to skip the high-profile summer warm-up to Iowa’s leadoff presidential nominating caucuses.

The former New York mayor’s morning announcement that he planned to bypass the early test of strength prompted McCain, an Arizona senator, to abandon his plans for the Aug. 11 event.

“In light of today’s news, it is clear that the Ames Straw Poll will not be a meaningful test of the leading candidates’ organizational abilities,” McCain’s national campaign manager Terry Nelson said in a statement. “So we have decided to forgo our participation in the event.” Campaign aides to Giuliani and McCain, who have led the field in national GOP surveys, said they intended to compete for the January caucuses.

Romney has essentially all but declared victory:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who was planning an all-out effort to get supporters to the non-binding contest in Ames, has enjoyed an organizational edge on many of his rivals and signaled he expected to continue with his straw poll strategy.

The Giuliani and McCain decisions prompted other candidate to reevaluate their plans.

Honestly, I’m not sure if this matters too much but they’re all forgetting the dark horse Thompson candidacy that could win Iowa in one fell swoop.

However, Romney is smart and I wouldn’t discount his strategy. A small win like the Iowa straw poll may be all he needs to boost his 3rd place poll numbers.

2008 Central doesn’t believe Fred will participate either:

Like I mentioned before, I don’t expect Fred Thompson to enter the straw poll either, which will make any results that the second tier achieves as fairly meaningless unless one candidate dramatically separates himself and comes close to Romney himself. And it seems highly unlikely that any other candidate can afford to compete like that. With three of the top four candidates not in the straw poll (unless I am wrong about Thompson), it will be hard for any candidate to say that a second place finish means much of anything.

I concur with the 08 Guru JW.