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Ames straw poll

Out of 14,302 ballots cast, here were the results on Saturday: 1) Romney 4,516 votes (31.6%); 2) Huckabee 2,587 (18.1%); 3) Brownback 2,192 (15.3%); 4) Tancredo 1,961 (13.7%); 5) Paul 1,305 (9.1%); 6) T. Thompson 1,039 (7.3%); 7) F. Thompson 203 (1.4%); 8) Giuliani 183 (1.3%); 9) Hunter 174 (1.2%); 10) McCain 101 (0.7%); and 11) Cox 41 (0.3%).

The Washington Post called Romney's win "convincing," but it adds: "Romney's victory came against a relatively weak field that did not include Giuliani, Sen. John McCain of Arizona or former senator Fred D. Thompson of Tennessee, and after he heavily outspent those who did compete. Still, the result, with Romney easily outpacing his rivals with 32 percent of the vote, helps elevate him from relative obscurity six months ago to the top tier of the GOP field -- despite his relatively low standing in national polls."

VIDEO:  Romney wins the Iowa straw poll.

Romney was on TODAY this morning to talk about his win. "It sends a message that America is ready for a change, and that change begins in Iowa."

The Daily Iowan appears to give Huckabee the victory via the headline: "Huck of a day at the straw poll." Adds the paper: "While a solid Romney victory was widely expected, the real winner" was Huckabee.

Tom Edsall, writing in the Huffington Post, calls Romney's victory unimpressive. "Romney's margin over a collection of underfunded second and third tier challengers barely matched or fell short of past winners in much tougher battles involving multiple heavyweight candidates."

The Des Moines Register's Yepsen wrote on Sunday that Romney's victory was "a bit hollow" and "may not be the prohibitive front-runner in Iowa after all." He cited low turnout, including Romney's "4,516 votes, fewer than the 7,418 votes George W. Bush received when he won the 1999 straw poll."

Notes Salon's Scherer: "The key to Huckabee's second place finish was the block of roughly 700 voters who either paid for their own tickets or had another campaign or organization buy their ticket. Not everyone who boarded Romney's buses, for example, planned to vote for Romney." Photo wrapped left:

Thompson dropped his bid for the Republican presidential nomination after finishing sixth at the straw poll.

The Sunday Des Moines Register looked at some of the color at Ames and wondered if this wasn't really the state fair: "Duncan Hunter had an Elvis impersonator. Ron Paul's tent had a live monkey. John Cox had a raffle for a luxury vacation. Mike Huckabee gave away a 150-pound watermelon."

And don't miss the photo of Huckabee eating pork on a stick … or of Huckabee jamming on stage with a Jimi Hendrix-like guitar strap.