Here's the hitch. John and Rudi didn't participate. So the winner was obvious. Here's the funny part. As Romney is constantly floating around spot #1 and 2 in the polls, he shoulda won by a landslide. But he got LESS THAN 40% against what the mainstream perceives as nobodies. He got only 31%. That's it! That's not even a third! And he by far spent the most money campaigning in Iowa.
So how is Dr. Ron Paul doing? Well he spent no money, has no organized support in Iowa, didn't even bother to show up until the weekend before the poll, was not allowed to participate in the Iowans For Tax Relief campaign event (even though he's the patron saint of anti-tax), and only bought a few tv spots in the middle of the week. And he still got 9% 940-odd votes.
This AFTER several reporters were making much of the fact that they saw tons of Ron Paul supporters but supposedly couldn't find a single one that was actually a citizen of Iowa (and therefore eligible to participate). In your fucking face. Ron Paul is virtually unknown in Iowa and can still do 9% without any promotion. This proves once and for all that he really does have a solid nationwide base and not just a small handful of 'internet spammers'.
Now for the conspiracy theory irony. Some random guy who happens to be a Paul supporter filed a suit against the Straw Poll on the basis that their electronic vote counting machines were unreliable, inaccurate, and subject to failure. Ron Paul took a lot of flak for this because the supporter was seen as one of his 'internet conspiracy kooks'.
Guess what happened.
YOU GUESSED IT! The electronic machines suffered catastrophic failure and the poll had to be hand counted and the result delayed by a day! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
So then there was the Illinois Straw Poll. What would happen?! Would Mike Huckabee continue his amazing run of luck? NO!! Would John McCain pull his failing campaign together? NO!! Would Mitt Romney win with the 8 to 1 margin he was supposed to win the Iowa poll with? NO!!! He barely got 2 to 1 odds over... you guessed it! RON PAUL!!
The 'nobody' with no money, no organization and nothing but a handful of 'internet spammers' (or so the media would like you to believe) came in 3rd. Against Mitt Romney and a guy who isn't even running yet, Fred Thompson. Which means he actually came in SECOND! The Ron Paul machine is building up steam, baby! They are now going to have to start taking him a hell of a lot more seriously.
To quote Al Michaels in 1980: "Do you believe in miracles?"