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Unbound GOP Delegates in ’16: why it matters September 2nd, 2015

Last week the Colorado Republican Party State Executive Committee voted against holding a straw poll at Colorado’s caucuses in 2016. Colorado Republican delegates will be unbound at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. What's the big deal about a straw poll?

First, some background on the Colorado straw poll:

  • The Colorado GOP has held exactly three straw polls: in 2008, 2010 and 2012. 

  • The poll was a PR opportunity and in 2012 it was a fundraiser for the GOP — nothing more, nothing 
less. Last time, candidates even had to pay to play — $5,000 or more — to be included in the poll.

It has been argued that straw polls increase caucus turnout. The real question is whether or not a straw poll increases participation in electing delegates to the national convention. There is a lot of hype around marking a faux ballot at caucus, but the truth is, it makes no difference in candidate selection. The winner of Colorado’s 2008 straw poll? Mitt Romney. Colorado’s winner in 2012? Rick Santorum. Neither was nominated at the national convention. The straw poll results were irrelevant.

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