Posted: August 8, 2007 5:08 PM
Tancredo Fighting for Second Place in Straw Poll
Saturday’s Republican straw poll could be a defining moment for the presidential campaign of Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., but the future of his candidacy does not ride on its outcome as much as it does for some of his rivals.
NBC Political Director Chuck Todd wrote this week that political observers should not be surprised if Tancredo cracks the top three in this Saturday’s straw poll. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the clear favorite to win the straw poll, so the non-binding test of organizational strength has turned into a competition for second and third place between Tancredo, Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Govs. Mike Huckabee and Tommy Thompson. Many analysts agree that the Republican field could be smaller after this weekend.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll released ahead of the Republican debate on Sunday found that Tancredo has garnered the support of 5 percent of Iowa Republican voters, tying him with Brownback. Although Romney came out on top with 26 percent, the poll also revealed some discontent with the Republican presidential field.
A poll from Real Clear Politics has set the bar even higher, predicting that Tancredo will place second in the straw poll. The survey consisted of 30 Iowa Republican officials who assigned points based on where they thought the candidates would place — a first place vote was worth five points, and a second place vote was worth four points. Romney won with 144 points, while Tancredo scored 59.
The Tancredo campaign has lauded the news, but has also tamped down expectations by stating that they are still aiming for the top half at the straw poll. Senior campaign adviser Bay Buchanan — sister of past presidential candidate Pat Buchanan – told the Denver Post that her candidate plans to stay in the race to compete in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Tancredo has not backed down from statements that the threat of attacks on Muslim holy sites could serve as a deterrent from a nuclear terrorist attack on the United States. In the ABC News debate on Sunday in Des Moines, Iowa, Tancredo rebuffed criticism from other Republican candidates, asserting that his top duty as president would be to protect and defend Americans.