35,448. That is a lot of corn kernels. That's how many kernels you dropped in Mason jars at the WHO-TV "Cast Your Kernel" Booth at the Iowa State Fair (click here for full results). Pretty simple idea (unless you liked it, and then I'll tell you I spent endless hours planning this complicated plan). All you had to do was drop a kernel into the jar of the person you thought should be the next Prez. 11 republicans, which became 10 after Tommy Thompson went back to the land of cheese and beer, and 8 democrats.
I wish I knew the demographic breakdown of fairgoers. But democrats clearly had their ears. 21,438 people voted for the dems. 14,010 went for the repubs.
Hillary Clinton took the top kernel honor. Her jars held nearly a third of the democratic vote. It was interesting to listen to people talk about her. You seem to love her or you hate (Hate is such a strong word. Let's say strongly dislike) her. Couples clashed. Friends fought. Strangers sparred.
John Edwards surged a bit, it seemed, after he and his wife visited the Fair. But he couldn't catch Clinton. Barack Obama urged the crowd to help him out when he stopped by our booth. He still lost to Clinton by more than 2,200 kernels. Bill Richardson finished a solid fourth (he seemed pleased when he stopped by to check out his totals). Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, your jars still have an awful lot of room in them. Detassling on a 105 degree late July day may feel a lot easier than the field you'll have to plow through to win the Caucuses.
On the republican side, Mitt Romney hardly broke a sweat despite the sweltering weather. He took more than 36% of the vote. Mike Huckabee bounced a bunch after the Straw Poll. He went from fourth to second. Rudy Giuliani slid from second to third. Fred Thompson finished fourth. Tom Tancredo took fifth. The Ron Paul Revolution put him sixth. Sam Brownback stood seventh. John McCain, Duncan Hunter and John Cox could have easily shared a jar. A few months ago, who would have thought McCain could only top two near-complete unknowns?