WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the Values Voter Summit's 2012 presidential straw poll Saturday, grabbing nearly 29 percent of the vote in a crowded field.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence each won roughly 12 percent of the 597 votes cast.
Four of the top five candidates addressed religious conservatives at the three-day Values Voter conference in Washington this week - the kind of attendance seen as a significant gesture by activists here, especially in an off-election year. Palin did not make an appearance.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, which hosted the conference, said Saturday that Huckabee had "potential," but stressed that the former governor's strong showing wouldn't translate into automatic support from the FRC's political action committee. "We want a fully-rounded conservative candidate," he said. "Right now, the door's wide open."
Mitt Romney's remarks here this week touched on social issues, but focused on economic and security policy. By contrast, Huckabee's speech dismissed calls for social and religious conservatives to move toward the center. "I'm not sure the center makes a whole lot of sense when it's coming from people who certainly don't have our interest, or our country's interest, at heart," he said.
The former Baptist minister nabbed a surprise victory in the Iowa caucuses last year, largely on the strength of grassroots support from religious conservative voters.
In his summit speech earlier Saturday, Romney stressed his unbroken string of conference appearances. Romney - a Mormon who has long made an effort to connect with evangelical voters - had nabbed victories in several similar recent measures of conservative presidential preference, including the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll earlier this year, and the last Values Voter Summit contest, held in 2007. He narrowly defeated Huckabee that year in a vote that was open to voters who cast their ballots over the Web. This year's vote was limited to conference attendees.
House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum were the other candidates on the straw poll ballot. All grabbed single-digit shares of the vote.
The FRC said Saturday that they believed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of their 16 top congressional targets for 2010, was looking increasingly vulnerable. Other names on the list are Tom Perriello, Steve Driehaus, Glenn Nye, Betsy Markey, Walt Minnick, Parker Griffith, Alice Titus, Mary-Jo Kilroy, Ann Kirkpatrick, John Boccieri, and John Murtha in House races, and Robin Carnahan, Michael Bennet, Paul Hodes, Christopher Dodd and Harry Reid on the Senate side, all Democrats.
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Obama vs Huckabee -Obama landslide victory! the party of NO has no candidate right now that can really pose a threat to Obama in 2012
Palin didn't make an appearance? That is so Palinesce! That she even got 12% is disturbing.
he will have my vote for sure.
Golly gee, this is better than finding an Easter egg!
This is scary and sad. His only qualification is his religion.
I don't agree with Mike Huckabee's politics at all, but I like the man. I think he is honest and honorable. He is head and shoulders above the rest of the nut cases running in this poll. He would be a worthy opponent for Obama. If he picked Colin Powell as a running mate, they could give us a run for our money in 2012!
Meaningless! I am republican, but Huckabee is far from my choice.
It doesn't really surprise me that Hucakabee would win a straw poll since that usually only includes the party faithful. But there is no way he'd win when you factor in independents and some democrats which is what will happen in the 2012 primaries (at least in the states that cross party voting is allowable).
It's hard to take a poll like this seriously if it leaves out Ron Paul...
Chris-So you are saying that the government regulation provided for in such agencies like the SEC, were under Republican control and unable to detect a Bernie Madoff scheme when provided how many letters of warning? Or Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with Franklin Raines at the helm were tanking while he grabbed a $90 million CEO bonus? Are you trying to say that the Republicans controlled those bureaucratic nightmares that burst your bubble theory, I thought the regulatory aspects of enforcement and compliance would function under our established laws as legislated by House and Senate? I think there is probably a lions share of responsibility for both parties, problem is there isn't a lions share of ACCOUNTABILITY for any of them. They are all still in office and all still doing the same stupid stuff to appease either a voting base or a lobbyist group.
What a revelation from above ... hallelujah for the hallelujahs ... Just put your hands on the television and say ... cheesy.
Have a lot of respect for Huckabee. He speaks his mind and usually is right.
Why is this a "surprise" candidate? Huckabee, for better or worse, expresses the values of most real Republicans. He would have gotten more votes than McCain in 2008.
Why is everyone surprised?
I have a word of advice for all of you Religious Right Theocrats out there who are supporting MIke Huckabee because you want a President who will seek to impose Judeo-Christian Theocratic Law on our country, it's citizens, and it's residents.
If ANY of you have Medicare, Medicaid, or employer-based healthcare insurance, and CAN'T afford to pay for your own healthcare insurance out of your own pocket, I would STRONGLY suggest famiilarizing yourselves with Mike Huckabee's vision for healthcare in this country.
You just MIGHT want to change your minds about who you will be supporting for President.
BTW-The vast majority of voting Americans will NEVER elect a Religious Right Theocrat for President.
IT ain't gonna be Huckabee.
ya none of them will WIn will have Dems run the show for long time..... Obama will take second term
It's pretty frightening to think of our country being controlled by the religious right. They don't support democracy but rather a system of governance on what they think their god would want. The conservatives talk about socialism and communisim, but this form of government would be no better. It would take away rights of the people and install a national church that would control our land. I believe in God and values but not as a governing body. You people are sick and scare the hell out of me.
Like winning the gold medal in the special olympics....
Oh yeah, the Christ Cultists Candidate of choice.
Why would anyone want their faith mixed with the most corrupt insttution society has is beyond me, but as an atheist I support their effort because it weakens religion in the long term.
Keep it up guys, Atheists have been growning in numbers for a few decades now. I don't think the God in politics is working out the way you want.
Why, when straw polls are taken, are entire results never given. Is it too much to ask that names and number of votes be just listed???
Huckabee would make an excellent President.
But Huckabee, Romney, Pawlenty, Palin, Pence, Jindal, Paul, any Republican in the House or Senate, any Republcian governor, anyone randomly picked from a list of registered Republicans, the conservative eagle character from the muppets. All would be an improvement on Obama in 2012.
On one issue alone, getting Obama out of office would save America.
The deficit. Under Bush, the deficits were large, but the CBO and economist never said they were not sustainable, that they thereatend or nations future. Obama inherited the largest deficit in history and instead of taking steps to decrease it he piled on. And in the middle of the worst recession in decades he has been pushing more and more spending so fast it makes you dizzy. And he wants to pass cap and trade that would choke the economy. He wants to make us believe that a trillion dollar health care bill will actually reduce the deficits. Which health care bill is that? Non of the current bills in the House or Senate have been scored by the CBO and shown to reduce the deficit by one penny, the HR3200 bill is scored as incresing the deficit by 240 billion. The health care reform bill that will reduce the deficit does not yet exist.
This insanity has to stop. The difference between the Bush deficits and the Obama deficits is about the same as between Godzila and the Geco lizard. And how do the left respond to the deficits? They say Bush had them too so shut up. Yeah, that will make them go away, good job lefty morons.
These so-called "Values" voters are fooling no one but themselves.
They have distorted the notion of values almost as much as they have distorted all that is real and true about Christianity itself.
And why do these people think they alone vote according to values?
I'm a voter.
I vote my values.
And my votes probably better reflect the values inherent in the faith initiated by Jesus of Nazareth over 2000 years ago than theirs do.
Besides, Mike Huckabee is a pandering ham whose political career – beyond his uninteresting talk show on Fixed News – is over.
Everyone knows how much these so-called "Values" voters like to be pandered to by hypocritical politicians like Mark Sanford, David Vitter, Larry Craig and John Ensign, who all got elected because they spouted nonsense about their supposed family values.
They can have Wannabe.
Of course the Huck-ster would win at a convention of religious conservatives; he's a Baptist Minister for cryin' out loud.
The Progressives would relish Huckabee in 2012. He would lose in a landslide.
This is all the GOP has left, the religious right and rednecks who hate Obama because of his race. Pathetic.