How did Yahoo! readers feel about the Iowa caucuses, the performance of the Republican candidates in the contest, and the issues at stake in the 2012 race? Let's take a look at the numbers.
On Tuesday night, as Iowans caucused and results rolled in, Yahoo! readers answered a series of questions related to the first-in-the-nation caucuses. First off, a media inquiry: how closely have Yahoo! readers been following the Republican nomination race? Of 1,774 voters, 55 percent of readers said they are checking in daily; 27 percent said they checked in once a week, and 16 percent said they refreshed their feeds hourly. Interpretation: Yahoo! readers like a healthy dose of politics, but most have resisted becoming true junkies.
On the candidates: Of dark horse candidates Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Jon Huntsman, Yahoo! readers said they wanted to hear more in the media about Huntsman (54 percent). People are also still curious about Perry (29 percent), and less so about Bachmann (15 percent).Yet towards the end of the evening, 80 percent of 4,668 voting readers said they felt that Perry should drop out of the race (he announced shortly after the poll closed that he'd be suspending his campaign). Readers were no kinder to Bachmann: 82 percent of 3,100 voting readers said she should leave the race, too. But in her closing speech Tuesday, she gave no hint of ducking out.
As Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul emerged as the three strongest candidates out of Iowa, we asked who among them had the best chance of defeating Barack Obama in November. Paul (with 48 percent of 2,838 votes) and Romney (at 41.5 percent) trounced. Rick Santorum (10 percent). "I hope the results of the poll prompt the media to pay more attention to Ron ... By actually acknowledging he exists!," one Yahoo! reader commented in our live blog.
One thing nearly all Yahoo! readers seemed to agree on? The most pressing issue of this campaign. Eighty-three percent of nearly 3,000 voters responded, "the economy." Only 7 percent wanted to talk about health care, while 10 percent felt foreign policy is most pressing.
The question that drew the most votes (nearly twice as many as any other that we ran on Tuesday): Will you stay up until the very end to find out who won in Iowa? When we posted the question at 9:00 p.m. CT, half of you were ready to head to bed, and the other 50 percent were evenly split between heading to bed and holding out to see how late it went. At the time of this writing, we bet most of you are safely tucked in.
We periodically check in with Yahoo! readers to get their thoughts on major election events. You can read their reactions to the Dec. 10 ABC/Yahoo Iowa debate here.