On Monday, February 1st, the Republican Presidential nominating process begins with the Iowa Caucus. One month later, on March 1st, Virginia will hold a Primary to select its candidate. But before those two events, the Waynesboro Republicans will hold a Presidential Straw Poll to measure the political winds in the Shenandoah Valley.
As you may know, a Straw Poll is an unofficial vote. The purpose of the Presidential Poll is to gauge the standing of the Republican candidates. Never has the list of contenders been so long and not since 1860, have the issues been so intractable.
You have been inundated with media polls. They have become as common as weather forecasts. However, you should know that most of the media polls are generated by automated telephone calls. Voice-recognition computer programs tally the responses of anyone who answers their landline phone and replies to the questions.
One month ago, Kentucky elected a new Governor. The media polls predicted that the Democratic candidate would win handily. When the votes were counted, the Republican won by 9%. The polling was astronomically wrong.
Media polling cannot generally produce dependable results because there is no reliable method by which a poll-taker can determine if the person answering the questions will, in fact, travel to a polling place to cast a ballot. That is what makes a Straw Poll somewhat different.
The Waynesboro Straw Poll will be held on Saturday, January 30th, two days before the Iowa caucuses. A polling station will be set up at the headquarters of the Waynesboro Republican Committee, located at the Willow Oak Plaza on West Broad Street. All Republican voters in the Shenandoah Valley are invited to participate.
The polls will be open from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm. Voting will be by a paper ballot which will list the names of the candidates in alphabetical order.
In the run-up to the Straw Poll, the Waynesboro Republicans will inform all the Presidential candidates of the poll. By doing that, we hope they become actively involved and perhaps even visit Waynesboro.
It is our intention to widely publicize the Straw Poll results. Because the men and women of the Shenandoah Valley are representative of many Virginians, the poll outcome should be viewed as a foreshadowing of the official results of March 1st.
During the period this autumn when the campaign committees were gathering signatures on petitions to qualify for the Primary ballot, we were able to see wide disparities between the campaigns. Those differences were attributable to money and volunteers, and both of those variables are a measure of a candidate’s support.
As a Republican Committee Chairman, I was contacted by many of the campaigns. Some called, others sent emails. Some were efficient and well organized. Others were like hikers lost in a forest. At times, I would be impressed, and at other times I would shake my head in disbelief.
So far, the candidates who have filed to be on the Primary ballot are, in alphabetical order, Bush, Christie, Cruz, Kasich, Paul and Trump. Expected to file within the next few days are, Carson, Fiorina, Gilmore and Rubio. You will have a list of ten candidates from which to choose.
Throughout the process of the Straw Poll, the Waynesboro Republican Committee will not support or criticize any candidate. Our goal is to give all the candidates a fair opportunity to present their positions and get out their voters.
Put the January 30th Straw Poll on your calendar. Your vote should be counted.
Ken Adams is the Chairman of the Waynesboro Virginia Republican Committee.