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Mitt Romney Beats Ron Paul By One Vote In SRLC Straw Poll

Mitt Romney didn’t bother to speak at this weekend’s Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, but he still managed to pull off a razor-thin victory in the straw poll:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney defeated Texas Rep. Ron Paul by a single vote in the Southern Republican Leadership Conference’s 2012 straw poll on Saturday.

Romney did not appear at the New Orleans conference, but received 439 votes — or 24 percent — of the 1,806 ballots cast by delegates at the conference, held in New Orleans. Paul earned 438 votes.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tied for third place with 18 percent of the vote.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee earned 4 percent, followed by Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, both with 3 percent. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum finished with 2 percent, while former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson came in last with 1 percent.

Conference-goers had predicted that Romney and Paul would compete for the straw poll’s top two spots, as their supporters worked hard to get like-minded delegates to the voting room.

A group called “Evangelicals for Mitt” was a visible presence at the conference, handing out copies of Romney’s new book and pink piggy banks emblazoned with the slogan, “Elect a president who won’t break the bank.”

Paul’s loyal supporters, many of them college-aged, showed up in droves on Saturday to cast ballots before attending the congressman’s speech in the afternoon.

Here are the official results:

If the primary election for president were held today, for whom would you vote? Please check the box by the candidate of your choice.

Newt Gingrich    18%
Mike Huckabee  4%
Gary Johnson    1%
Sarah Palin       18%
Ron Paul           24% (438 votes)
Tim Pawlenty   3%
Mike Pence      3%
Mitt Romney    24% (439 votes)
Rick Santorum    2%

The poll also asked attendees who their second choice would be:

2. Who would be your second choice in the Republican Primary Election for president?

Newt Gingrich    19%
Mike Huckabee  10%
Gary Johnson    6%
Sarah Palin  18%
Ron Paul 5%
Tim Pawlenty  6%
Mike Pence    8%
Mitt Romney    13%
Rick Santorum   7%

While these results are just as meaningless as they were when Ron Paul won the CPAC poll in February, there is something very interesting in the fact that the so-called rising stars of the GOP never seem to do very well:

It’s fascinating that these guys finished ahead of Palin and Gingrich, who get rock star treatment at these sorts of gatherings and, indeed, got rock star treatment at this particular gathering

Indeed, it would seem to be a reflection of the idea that maybe the GOP likes to hear people like Palin and Gingrich speak, but doesn’t necessarily want them to be the party’s standard bearer in 2012.

2 Responses to “Mitt Romney Beats Ron Paul By One Vote In SRLC Straw Poll”

  1. Mike says:

    I think they get rockstar treatment because of the ridiculous stuff that comes out of their mouths. Which in turn, makes candidates such as Romney decide to not participate in these events:

  2. [...] writing about the results of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference Straw Poll, James Joyner makes the case that Mitt Romney is now the favorite to win the 2012 Republican [...]

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