AMES, Iowa (CNN)– Voting is underway in the first crucial Republican straw poll contest of the 2008 presidential campaign season. The first ballots were cast at 10am CT here on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames. Voting will last until 6pm local time and results will be announced one hour later.
Voters need to prove they are Iowa residents and need to pay a $35 entrance fee. Many of the campaigns are busing in their supporters and paying for their entrance fees. But the ballots are cast in secret so there is no guarantee on how people will vote, even if they are bused in and their entrance fees paid for by certain campaigns.
After they cast their ballots, voters need to dip their thumbs in indelible ink, similar to the kind used in the Iraqi national elections. This is supposed to prevent people from voting more than once.
Mitt Romney is expected to win today’s straw poll. The big question right now is by how much the former Massachusetts Governor will win. The top three GOP contenders in the national polls, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Senator from Tennessee Fred Thompson, who’s yet to announce he’s running for President, and Senator from Arizona John McCain, are not actively taking part in today’s straw poll.
The other big question today is which of the second tier candidates will come in second. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Senator from Kansas Sam Brownback, and former Wisconsin Governor and Bush Cabinet Secretary Tommy Thompson are all gunning hard for capturing second place. Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Ron Paul and Tom Tancredo are also here today and hoping for a strong finish.
There’s the possibility that some of these second and third tier candidates may drop out of the race for the White House if they don’t perform well in today’s straw poll.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser
LET'S FACE IT HE WILL GET THE MAJORITY OF THE BLACK VOTE BECAUSE OF HIS SKIN COLOR NOT WEITHER HE IS THE BEST MAN FOR THE JOB!
George, honestly. You commented on the wrong post, you used all capitol letters (the equivalent to yelling in the online world), and you spelled whether "weither." That aside, your argument contradicts polls and a large concern among the black community about Obama as a candidate, not just a "black person." Comment with candid reason, not prejudice.
Why is it that Democrat supporters sound and write so much more lucidly than Republican supporters? Is it true the Republican party caters to the rich and the ignorant?