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ACU's Cardenas and Keene put CPAC straw poll into perspective

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*updated 2/13/11

The 2011 CPAC/Washington Times Presidential Straw Poll released the following results of CPAC attendees first choice to be the next Republican nominee for president and Congressman Ron Paul, Texas Republican, was this year’s winner. Below are the full results from a CPAC statement:

The 2011 CPAC/Washington Times Presidential Straw Poll had a larger number of participants than any CPAC straw poll in past years, with a total of 3,742 votes.  This was an increase of almost 56% over last year’s numbers.  In this year’s poll Texas Congressman Ron Paul received 30% of the vote.  He was followed closely by Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney who received 23% of the vote.  Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie each received 6% of the vote.  Former Speaker Newt Gingrich received 5%.  Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachman, and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels each received 4% of the vote.  Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin received 3% while Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and South Dakota Senator John Thune each received 2% of the vote.  Former Utah Governor John Huntsman and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour each rounded out the voting with 1%.  Other candidates received 5% of the vote, and 1% were undecided.  The poll was opened to all CPAC participants.

I spoke with newly elected CPAC Chairman Al Cardenas about the straw poll on Saturday and ask him about the significance of the results. 

“Every year, we have done this thing and its added a different twist to it the last two or three decades. We’ve had years where candidates spent a lot of money and paid literally for registration and pay for people to be housed here, so that the straw poll would be stacked in their favor”, said Mr. Cardenas.”We’ve had years when individuals have really gotten together at the convention and really come up with some surprises in terms of outcome.”

Former CPAC Chairman David Keene gave me his thoughts on the support Mr. Paul received throughout the convention.

“He got a bunch of kids that come here…several hundred. He got them last year.The press missed the story last year, which was with him as the only one running and he barely won. That’s why you have to bring all these people here. I know there are more people voting than ever this year,” Mr. Keene explained.

11,000 people registered and attended CPAC this year-the most ever in the conference’s history and 3742 registrants voted in the straw poll-the most ever in the straw-poll’s history.

“Sometimes [the straw poll] refelects public sentiment and sometimes it doesn’t, but this is 11,000 people here…an exercise in democracy and if the Ron Paul people did a good job in getting supporters here…great. If the results are not significant or if the results are not indicative of sentiment at large, so be it,” noted Mr. Cardenas.”But we invite grassroots people, supporters, activists, and they cast their lot for one candidate or another and it may not reflect the outcome of the election, but it sure is fun.”

Immediately following release of the straw poll results, loud boos and cheers could be heard throughout the main ballroom in the Marriott Wardman hotel. Ron Paul supporters, calling themselves “Young Americans for Liberty” released a statement about Ron Paul’s win, while Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) distributed anti-Ron Paul flyers. 

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About the Author
Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket, a former Opinion Blogger/Editor of The Watercooler, was associate producer for the Media Research Center, a content producer for Robin Quivers of "The Howard Stern Show" on Sirius satellite radio and a production assistant and copy writer at MTV.

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