Nate Silver says the Ames Straw Poll “has a pretty good predictive track record”. Stu Rotheberg (via) and Joe Scar say that if freak show candidates — Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann — do well in it, then it likely has no predictive value.
Needless to say, I’ll always take Nate Silver’s word over that of any puffed-up pundit. Now, I think all the fried-butter-on-a-stick-eating-contest stuff is stupid, but that’s not Rothenberg’s and Scarborough’s objection here. They’re upset because as moderate, establishment Republicans, they don’t like what’s happening to their party. Keith Humphreys of SameFacts:
In 2010, the Tea Party candidates were running as much against the Republican Establishment as they were against Democrats. And today, after the sort of serious people the Establishment would have loved (Thune, Daniels) declined to run, Governor Perry joins Gingrich, Pawlenty, Paul, Bachmann, Romney, Santorum and Cain in a circular-firing-squad-cum-rugby scrum. Never in my lifetime has the Republican Party nomination process involved so many divisive figures, second-rate figures and genuine loons, nor evoked such a lack of broadly shared enthusiasm for any one candidate.
Expect the fighting between the teahadists and the old-schoolers to get louder. Personally, I see the old-schoolers surrendering, which is why I think Perry is a more likely nominee than Romney.