The Ames Straw Poll is a presidential straw poll taken by Iowa Republicans. It occurs in Ames, Iowa on the campus of Iowa State University, on a Saturday in August of years in an election cycle in which the Republican presidential nomination seems to be undecided (that is, in years without an incumbent Republican President running for re-election). Because it draws many voters from all over the state, the Ames Straw Poll is by far the most prominent of the several straw polls held in Iowa. Thus it is also commonly known as the Iowa Straw Poll. It was first held in 1979. 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
Contributions by Lowellian, Muboshgu, and GageSkidmore.