So like it or not, the straw poll has consequences because, silly as it is, it is a highly publicized test of a candidate's ability to gather broad support in the state that votes first. It's not a good test. But it's a very visible one. And as such, it is perceived as separating the wheat from the chaff, or the corn from the husk, as it were. Look at it this way: If you were a Republican donor or a corporate executive with few grand to drop on a presidential candidate, would you want to hand your money to some guy who TRIED and still couldn't get even 2,200 Iowans to support him (hello, Sam Brownback!)? Not if you were a smart one.Will Tommy Thompson the last to withdraw from the race? No, and hopefully others will follow his lead.
By the same token, Giuliani and McCain didn't participate and what does that say about their Iowa operations? Nothing and you can't read anything else into it.