AMES, Iowa -- Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has won the Ames Straw Poll with 29% of the vote, edging out Rep. Ron Paul by 152 votes, or 28%.
Tim Pawlenty, who needed a strong finish, was further back in third with 14%.
Rick Santorum, who has campaigned more than anyone, pulled in 10% and Herman Cain got 9%. Rick Perry, who wasn't on the ballot, but had a concerted write-in effort here, got 718 votes, or 4%, ahead of Mitt Romney, the presumed front runner for the nomination, who pulled in 567 votes (3%), Newt Gingrich 385 votes (2%), Jon Huntsman 69 votes and Rep. Thaddeus McCotter 35 votes.
The total number of voters was high, 16,892, about 3,000 votes more than 2007. It was the second-highest turnout ever for the straw poll.
Here are the official votes from the Iowa GOP:
2011 Straw Poll Full Results (Votes, %)
1. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (4823, 28.55%)
2. Congressman Ron Paul (4671, 27.65%)
3. Governor Tim Pawlenty (2293, 13.57%)
4. Senator Rick Santorum (1657, 9.81%)
5. Herman Cain(1456, 8.62%)
6. Governor Rick Perry (718, 3.62%) write-in
7. Governor Mitt Romney (567, 3.36%)
8. Speaker Newt Gingrich (385, 2.28%)
9. Governor Jon Huntsman (69, 0.41%)
10. Congressman Thad McCotter (35, 0.21%)
Scattering (162, 0.96 %) Includes all those receiving votes at less than one-percent that were not on the ballot.
*** UPDATE *** Here's some reaction from candidates:
Tim Pawlenty: “Congratulations to Congresswoman Michele Bachmann for her victory in today's straw poll. We made progress in moving from the back of the pack into a competitive position for the caucuses, but we have a lot more work to do. This is a long process to restore America -- we are just beginning and I'm looking forward to a great campaign."
*** UPDATE 2 *** Mitt Romney Tweeted: "Congratulations to Michele Bachmann for winning the Iowa GOP's straw poll. Look forward to crossing paths on the campaign trail."
*** UPDATE 3 *** NBC's Catherine Chomiak reports that Santorum said he feels great about the results being so close to third place, considering the three candidates ahead of him spent more than him. He said they did everything the old fashioned way and that voters are hearing his message and responding to it. He's heading back to Pennsylvania after the poll. Since he has no bus, he and his wife are driving their car back.