Ames, Iowa (CNN) – Need an early indication that Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota could do very well at Saturday’s GOP presidential straw poll in Ames, Iowa?
Here’s one: A source close to the Bachmann campaign tells CNN the campaign has handed out 4,000 tickets to supporters. (Remember, at this straw poll campaigns are allowed to bus their supporters in to the event and pay the $30 ticket fee to allow them to vote. Of course, everyone who casts a ballot in the straw poll needs to prove that they are an Iowa resident or go to school in the state.)
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the last straw poll four years ago with just over 4,500 votes. While Romney is on the ballot this time around, he’s far from Ames, campaigning in New Hampshire on Saturday.
Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is also expected to place well at the straw poll. A source close to the longtime congressman from Texas tells CNN the campaign has moved a couple of thousand tickets to supporters. Paul came in fifth in 2007.
As for overall turnout, from the size of the crowds it will be a surprise if this year’s vote doesn’t surpass the less than 15,000 who cast ballots in 2007. The vote count tally four years ago was way down from the nearly 24,000 who cast ballots in the 1999 straw poll.