Campaigns/Elections

Is It Time to End Iowa's Straw Poll?

Governor thinks it has outlived its usefulness

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Since 1979, would-be Republican presidential candidates have headed to Ames, Iowa for the Iowa Straw Poll—which has long been cast as one of the earliest indicators of how presidential candidates will fare in the Iowa caucuses and the GOP primaries. The state's Republican governor, however, thinks it's time to put an end to the tradition.

"I think the straw poll has outlived its usefulness," Gov. Terry Branstad said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "It has been a great fundraiser for the party, but I think its days are over."

The Straw Poll, held in August the year before a presidential election year, usually attracts around 15,000 Iowans who cast ballots for their preferred GOP nominee. But as CBSNews.com's Brian Montopoli reported last year, the event is something of a "fraudulent affair… in which votes are bought and Iowans are bribed to attend with free barbecue and entertainment."