Romney's campaign decided early on against formally campaigning to win any of the major straw polls, a reversal from his 2008 strategy, which saw Romney devote substantial time and money to winning the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa. Romney won the contest, but former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee sapped Romney's momentum with a surprising second-place showing. Huckabee finished the job months later with a crushing victory over Romney in the 2008 caucuses. With Romney entering the 2012 contest as the established front-runner, then, it made perfect sense for Romney to steer clear of the grassroots-dominated contests. Top tier candidates typically have little to gain from straw polls, and much to lose -- look no further than Perry's recent second-place finish at the Presidency 5 event in Orlando. Perry was expected to win easily after investing heavily in the event, but those heightened expectations made the media narrative all the more painful after his stunning 25-point loss to Cain. Going forward, look for Romney to continue avoiding such high-risk, low-reward contests -- but expect his campaign to be closely monitoring the results.
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