Results expected shortly after 6pm Eastern
Live video stream from the straw poll:
Live video by Ustream
For one possible topic of discussion, you may wish to sharpen your punditry and prognostication skills while we wait for the speeches to finish and the counting to begin at 5 p.m. ET. Who made the sale? Who shouldn’t have bothered showing up? How many Iowans will bother showing up and voting? Fill out your trifecta card and let us know who is going to pull what percentage of the vote.
My friend Nathan Wurtzel is going with a turnout of 12,382 and predicts a Ron Paul win with 24%.
I’m going with Bachmann 26%, Ron Paul 22%, T-Paw 17% and the rest spread out from there. Turnout has been considerably better than 12K in years past and this is shaping up to be a hotly contested election, so I think turnout will break 15K.
While you ponder the choices, here’s a video for you to watch of the ABC crystal ball crew with their predictions. Two of the three agree with Nate in feeling that the Ron Paul army will do their usual schtick and take the top spot. One of them agrees with me on the winner. Interestingly, one thinks that write-in ballots for Perry could crack the top 3.
Take it away.
Update (AP): We’ll know the winner sometime in the 5-6 p.m. hour, but pay attention to turnout numbers if you hear them during the course of the day. Bachmann is the most popular candidate locally, but liking her and taking time to go vote for her are two different things. From Politico: “A broad rule of thumb: The closer turnout is to 20,000, the better it looks for Bachmann. The closer to 10,000, the more likely it is Pawlenty or Paul could knock off the Iowa frontrunner.”
Update (Ed): Tina, Guy, and I are now in the Spin Room and will be getting video and stories from the fairgrounds-like area outside the arena. The speeches will take place on stage in the Spin Room, so we will have front-row seats for the addresses. We’re most likely to comment on Twitter, so here is the Townhall/Hot Air twitter widget once more: