Paul wins conservative voter straw poll

Posted: October 9, 2011 in US News

Sean Lengel
The Washington Times
October 9, 2011

Rep. Ron Paul easily won a Republican presidential candidate straw poll Saturday at the conservative Values Voter Summit in Washington, while two of the most popular candidates in the race — Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — finished near the bottom.

Mr. Paul won with 37 percent of the vote, while businessman Herman Cain, who has been surging in the polls recently, finished in second with 23 percent. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum finished third with 16 percent.

“Dr. Paul’s standing among Christian conservative voters is growing as people become more familiar with the man as well as the message,” said Jesse Benton, Mr. Paul’s presidential campaign chairman.

Mr. Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann officially tied for fourth place with 8 percent of the vote, although Mr. Perry’s 167 votes was 10 more than Mrs. Bachmann’s tally. Mr. Romney, who has struggled to win the support of conservative voters, had 4 percent.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich finished second from the bottom with 3 percent, while former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, the only major GOP presidential candidate who declined to attend the weekend event, finished last with less than 1 percent of the vote.

Mr. Paul, an outspoken Texan whose libertarian leanings often don’t sit well with conservatives in his party, trails significantly in most national polls. But his fiercely loyal band of supporters often show up en masse for Republican straw polls, pushing him near or at the top of the table in those contests.

More than 600 people registered for the three-day Values Voter Summit on Saturday morning just before the straw poll’s noon closing time, with many, if not most, believed to be Paul supporters.

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