Good question. As I understand it, the process was flawed, because the straw polls didn’t really count. In that case, I don’t know why they had them. It sounds as if they wanted to give the illusion of popular input, whereas the results were basically predetermined by the party pros and insiders.
Regretably, by doing it this way, the state party gave the media the chance to pretend that Romney won the straw polls. I think that was dishonest on the part of the state officials, and that it was probably deliberate, because they did nothing to correct the false impression when they spoke with the press.
This is one more regretable example of how the pros can screw up if they try to tell the base what to do, instead of at least listening to them. It’s like what happened in California, when Parsky imposed first Riordan and then Arnold on the base—which has probably succeeded in sinking the party there permanently.
In Iowa, the “vote” was a non-binding straw poll, and delegates weren’t really chosen to reflect the vote at all.
In Wyoming, each caucus had to choose a delegate, so the people who showed up DID make a selection of a delegate. That delegate was NOT chosen based on the straw poll of candidates though.