Well, first let's think about what The Ames Straw Poll is and what it isn't. What is it? Well, according to Wikipedia (I already linked above; sorry, not doing it again):
"The poll takes place among attendees of a fundraising dinner benefiting the Iowa Republican Party. Before the vote, each candidate is given a chance to make a short speech to the attendees.
The poll has been described as a cross between a political convention and a county fair, where Iowa voters have a chance to mingle, eat barbecue and have a little fun. The party divides the venue into sections and auctions each to the candidates, who can then set up booths to present their case to the voters. The larger areas and those closest to the entrance often fetch the highest price. In 2011 bidding started at $15,000 and ranged to as high as $31,000 (bid by Ron Paul).
Non-Republicans are allowed to vote in the Ames Straw Poll. However, all voters must be at least 16 1/2 years of age, be legal residents of the state of Iowa or a student attending an Iowa university/college, and purchase a ticket priced at $30, however some campaigns pay the fee for their supporters."
And what isn't it? A primary or a caucus. That doesn't happen until next year when the vultures will descend anew on Iowa.
So, it's a fundraising event sponsored by a local branch of a national party that charges thirty bucks for the privilege of getting in and eating hot dogs and listening to Mike Huckabee play the bass at a tent bought by one of the candidates that allows people of non-voting age to participate. In a very small state. With a total of just over 16,000 people voting. Which is slightly more than the population of my hometown, which I can guarantee you was never asked its opinion on anything, let alone had said opinion be national news and the cause of a major candidate dropping out of a presidential race.
So out of the 16,000 Iowans (and students who just happen to be there) who paid thirty bucks to go into a tent, about one quarter of them chose The Stepford Wife. That's 4,823 Iowans, some of whom are, again, not of legal voting age. You may have heard that Ron Paul came in a close second. But you probably didn't. It was all Stepford Wife, all the time. And we are supposed to consider this a legitimizing event.
There's a reason that the two candidates who actually have a chance of winning the Republican nomination didn't bother to show up. It's a farce. And they would only cheapen themselves by participating in it. Which is undoubtedly the last positive thing I will say about either of them. Except maybe that they aren't quite as batshit crazy as The Stepford Wife.