5. The Ames Straw Poll isn't that big of a deal. As U.S. News reported last week, the poll has limited predictive value: Only two of the five Ames Straw Poll winners have won the GOP nomination, and only one made it all the way to the White House, President George W. Bush.
Sabato calls the poll a "phony real event" since it isn't a real election but gets covered and talked about like one. He says the poll's main value was in clarifying things a little bit, but primarily because of the heightened media attention on all the candidates. "It's the most important phony real event so far," he says. "Don't worry, there'll be plenty of others."