Rep. Michele Bachmann wins the 2011 Iowa Straw Poll with 28.55 percent of the vote, with Rep. Ron Paul following in second place with 27.65 percent and former Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty finishing third with 13.57 percent.

Rep. Michele Bachmann won the Iowa Straw Poll Saturday, affirming her status as a top-tier candidate in the Republican race to challenge President Obama in 2012.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul came in second, followed by former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty in third.

The political festival is the first indication of how these Republicans are faring with the GOP base. Nine candidates were on the ballot, and voting ran six hours for the day on the campus of Iowa State University.

The most buzz revolved around Bachmann, whose supporters were a huge presence at the outdoor circus before the votes were cast.

But Pawlenty arguably had the most on the line as his aides have said that if he didn’t finish at least second or third, they would have to evaluate whether he can move forward.

Paul has had the most devout and loyal following at the event this year. He got the surprise showing he was looking for in hopes that it would convince Republicans that he was more mainstream than not in his second shot at the GOP nomination. He referenced his fellow Texan’s entrance in the race and said he didn’t anticipate many of his supporters jumping ship for what he called a “super-establishment candidate.”

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