While Mitt Romney won the Ames Straw Poll by a wide margin, he also won the competition for the most money spent per vote by an even wider margin.

Despite these two “wins” for Romney, it appears that the true winner of Ames may former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

After his surprising second place finish in the poll, coming ahead of Sam Brownback, who outspent him at the poll at a nearly 3-to-1 clip and Tommy Thompson, who pinned his staying in the race on a strong finish, Huckabee has started surging in the polls.

The American Research Group released several state polls today and the post-Ames publicity seems to have paid off for Huck:

Mike Huckabee is at 17% among Republicans in Iowa (up from 1% in July), 12% among Republicans in New Hampshire (up from 1% in July), and 11% among Republicans in South Carolina (up from 3% in July).

What remains to be seen is if this surge in the polls will equate to a surge in donations, because frankly, Huckabee’s financial situation has been abysmal. If Huck can squeeze a few dollars out of those fiscal conservatives he is courting, maybe, just maybe he can really make some noise.