A “cookie poll” today at the Principal Financial group in Des Moines could be a harbinger of the upcoming election. In 1998, Democrat Tom Vilsack won the Principal “cookie poll” even though he’d trailed in every media poll. This year, Vilsack won the cookie poll again, beating his Republican rival Doug Gross by nine percent. Jim Crawford is director of government affairs and political advocacy for the Principal.Crawford says the whole reason for the poll is to generate excitement about the privilege of voting. One-thousand cookies served as ballots, and Principal workers “voted” by taking a cookie from their candidate’s side of the pile.The results of Principal’s “cookie poll” accurately reflected the margin of Governor Terry Branstad’s victories in 1990 and 1994. In “cookie poll” 2000, 501 Principal workers took George Bush cookies and 499 took Al Gore cookies — giving Bush the three-cookie margin that was a harbinger of the real election.