03 March 2007


The hate mongering, name calling and efforts by the candidates to out-conservative each other are over and Mitt Romeny emerged as the favorite of those attending the Conservative Political Action Conferenece this weekend.

Romney was the first choice of 21% of those voting in the
CPAC straw poll.

Rudy Giuliani finished second at 17%. Sam Brownback was third at 15%, Newt Ginrich came in fourth at 14% and John McCain rounded out the top five at 12%. All the other candidates scored below 5%

Romney put a lot of eggs in this basket, busing in college students from his home state of Massachusetts, as well as from Michigan where his father was a popular governor in the 60s.

The move may have swayed the voting a bit.

The youth chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, Matthew Hall, earlier this week told the New York Times he thought Romney would do well in the poll because of the students who would be there working, and voting, on his behalf.

"The response we've seen from students in Michigan is that regardless of who they are supporting for president, they are more than willing to take a free trip to the conference if all they have to do in return is wear a shirt and vote for him in a straw poll."

So it's not really clear whether the results were skewed or not, but Romney did seem to make some gains among social conservatives. Among those voters in the straw poll who said "traditional values" were the most important issue, Romney finished second ( 22%), behind Brownback (29%) and ahead of Gingrich (13%) and Giuliani and McCain (8% each).

Gingrich and Giuliani were the top second choices at 16% apiece. When first and second choices were combined, Giuliani came out on top at 34 points, followed by Romney and Gingrich at 30, Brownback at 24 and McCain at 20.

So it appears the other winner this weekend was Brownback, who -as we said- led the pack among "values" voters. He also finished third on the "first-choice" question and fourth when first and second choice votes were combined.

Brownback clearly stood out among the second-tier candidates The other lesser-known candidates barely registered, and only scored high enough to be noticed in the "second-choice" balloting.

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