Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Senator John McCain decided not to participate in this straw poll. So the former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney was installed as favourite.
Romney's huge financial muscle and strong organisation ensured success.
He took 4516 of the 14,000 votes cast. But the big surprise was the former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, who snatched second place from Sam Brownback, the senator from Kansas. Both are strongly opposed to abortion.
This is undoubtedly a boost for Huckabee's campaign. Huckabee is hamstrung by lack of funds.
All in all he can feel reasonably happy with his performance. He has been catapulted from relative obscurity. Extra funds may flow from conservative supporters into his campaign coffers. Huckabee's conservative credentials are impeccable. If he can rally conservatives behind him, he could spring a surprise when Iowa holds its formal caucuses next January.
Fred Thompson is expected to announce his intention to seek the GOP nomination soon. So the Iowa caucuses will be intensely competitive.
Romney and Huckabee now have a head start on Thompson, McCain and Giuliani . Their campaigns have built up momentum. Can they sustain this?