April 10th, 2010
08:11 PM ET
5 years ago

Romney wins presidential straw poll by a single vote

Mitt Romney did not attend the Southern Republican Leadership Conference but still won its 2012 straw poll.
Mitt Romney did not attend the Southern Republican Leadership Conference but still won its 2012 straw poll.

New Orleans (CNN) – 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 he received 439 votes out of the 1,806 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, who both captured 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 along with 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.

Like most straw polls, Saturday’s results should not be considered a reliable predictor of future success. Former Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist won the last SRLC contest in 2006, but never ran for president. The poll was accurate in 1998, however, when George W. Bush took the top spot two years before winning the White House.

The ballot also lacked several big names. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Texas Gov. Rick Perry – all of whom have been mentioned as possible 2012 candidates – were not listed.

At least two, Barbour and Perry, asked to have their names kept off the ballot.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Ron Paul
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Denna

    Seriously, if Mittens wins the Republican nomination and wins as president, we are SCREWED! Actually, if he seriously wins, we will get, compliments of the south, what we deserve.

    April 10, 2010 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  2. Gil

    It doesn't matter, they are all losers. Ron Paul's stand against the war spending is one thing many Americans would agree with!

    April 10, 2010 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  3. Ken in NC

    I can see myself being comfortable with Ron Paul as a Republican candidate but the rest of them can take a hike except for "Half Gov. Palin". She needs to be sent on her merry way to Pluto.

    April 10, 2010 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  4. 2012

    Romney is going to beat Obama in 2012.

    April 10, 2010 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  5. RIP GOP! FIRED UP READY TO GO...

    The perfect candidate. Kinda reminds me of Bush...

    April 10, 2010 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  6. Perusing-through

    INTERESTING . . .

    The RNC voted as their potential 2012 POTUS candidate, a man who as Governor of Massachusetts, pushed and signed-off for his state a Healthcare Reform that is remarkably similar to President Obama's Healthcare Reform (HCR). So similar, even down to part where citizens need to purchase minimum healthcare insurance.

    Even more remarkable is that when Romney did it, no Republican or Tea Bagger called Romney's HCR plan "socialist". Oh my, what HYPOCRITES are the GOP Tea-Bags.

    April 10, 2010 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  7. shooter

    All the losers of GOP selected the worst Loser as their leader. What a bunch of crooks, liars and straight theft express.

    April 10, 2010 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  8. Palin Power

    Palin should have won the straw poll, not Romney. Palin can PWN Romney in a debate and she will easily PWN Obambi. She is a truer Republican Conservative while Mittens is just a RINO.

    April 10, 2010 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  9. GOPer

    Good but do go to his church, you wont get in.

    April 10, 2010 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  10. ray

    the presidentof poland and his wife died in a plane crash and its very sad but then i ask the question, why can all republicans and the racists on the right never have the sme happen to them when they fly. its sad, i hope the lord grant them the same

    April 10, 2010 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  11. BeverlyNC

    What difference does it make who led a poll within the Republican Party? They have NO credible leadership, no solutions, no common platform, no concerns for the People of this nation, and their only base is a group of dangerous lunatics who have no idea what they are mad about, can't tell you what "socialism" really is, nor define exactly what freedoms they think they are losing. They are ignorant racists who carry despicable signs, come armed to rallies, are all white and over 50, and totally clueless. They just repeat whatever lies FOX feeds to them.

    The GOP has NOTHING to offer but hate, fear, negativity and racism. We have a large group of hard-working Democrats who care about working families and have been doing everything they could all year to help us recover and survive. They are true patriots and servants to the People who elected them.

    I would never vote for a Republican again.

    April 10, 2010 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  12. Lee

    Straw polls don't mean much, especially this far out from the election. But it is encouraging to see a group called Evanglicals for MItt working the crowd. If Southern conservative Bible bashers finally warm up to Romney, he will be our next President, and we really need a man who knows how to fix problems.

    April 10, 2010 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  13. LiveFreeorDie

    The crooked Establishment that rules the Republican Party hates Ron Paul, but he just keeps gaining in popularity. Maybe that is because he has integrity and he wants to eliminate most of this treasonous, bankrupting Federal Government. Ron Paul for President....sounds good to me!

    April 10, 2010 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  14. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    WOW, Obama is shaking in his boots!!!!!

    April 10, 2010 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  15. jef

    Ron Paul is the `real deal`. He would be good for the people. Mittens is just a wannabe. Palin is Forest Gump in a dress (and a mean version too). However, I don`t see that Paul necessarily would be a GOP candidate, he would most likely be an independent which would mean he would not be President (too many of us wear the red and blue blinkers) which is a shame. Until people get it into there heads that their vote might really count we will be stuck with the same old two party system which we know does not work. Come on America take the gamble and get out and VOTE.

    April 10, 2010 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  16. GuyInVA

    Best joke of the 2008 campaign season. Then Senator Obama on Letterman, reading the top 10 priorities of an Obama presidency. I forget which number, but one of them was "Appoint Mitt Romney Secretary Of Lookin' Good."

    April 10, 2010 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  17. Bob in Pa

    People need to rethink Mitt. He talks a good game, but his record says he signed into law the Mass Health Care reform that is now causing the higher rates / price controls problem happening there now.

    April 10, 2010 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  18. The Unsub

    I'm an independent and voted for Obama and I would/could vote for Ron Paul. He would end these foolish wars.

    April 10, 2010 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  19. LiveFreeor

    The crooked Establishment that rules the Republican Party hates Ron Paul, but he just keeps gaining in popularity. Maybe that is because he has integrity and he wants to eliminate most of this treasonous, bankrupting, Federal Government. Ron Paul for President....sounds good to me!

    April 11, 2010 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  20. carlos

    poor souls, all of them........NO CLASS repulsives

    April 11, 2010 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  21. laxgirl

    None of these potential GOP presidential candidates have a snowball's chance in hell of actually winning in 2012. Their problem is that in order to win they must win the votes of moderates, independents and hard core conservatives(as well as tea party members). In today's political climate as the GOP base ages and it's leadership drifts further right with each passing day, catering to all three of those groups will prove to be impossible as the conservatives now categorize all those who disagree with them as socialist, communist, or marxist (thus illustrating that they do not in fact know what those three words actually mean).

    April 11, 2010 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  22. Derrick

    Mitt is Mormon.

    Mormons and Christians do not mix.

    He will divide his party if he wins the Republican Primaries.

    Christians despise Mormons.

    He will LOSE.

    Choose Romney in 2012 GOP!

    Democrats will thank you!

    April 11, 2010 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  23. Recently Employed by Federal Stimulus Spending

    If either Mitt Romney or Ron Paul are going to have a chance of winning the Presidency in 2012, they are going to have to show our nation's unionized workers that they are not out to destroy our unions, force us to take wage cuts, and lower our standard of living so their rich fat-cat friends can pocket all the extra profits.

    What are either of these two going to do for people who actually work for a living?

    April 11, 2010 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  24. 8 Years of “trickle down economics” has only left a wet spot on working America's shoes!

    Baptists do not like Mitt's special underwear.

    No chance in the primary, but have a better chance in general except that whole being for universal health care, before he was against, sort bags that whole "repeal and replace" argument.

    Paul will the divider the tea gaggers will vote and may get him the primary, but doomed to fail in the general. Do away with Medicare, etc a non-starter

    Have you not heard all the old white folks screaming keep your "socialist" hands off my Medicare.

    That just leaves little missy, the witless Wasillia Wonder Bra.

    Please, God let Palin and Bachmann run in 2012, I already the bumper sticker.

    Playtex Palin/Bali Bachmann, two boobs for 2012!

    April 11, 2010 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  25. 8 Years of “trickle down economics” has only left a wet spot on working America's shoes!

    Baptists do not like Mitt's special underwear.

    No chance in the primary, but would have a better chance in general except that whole being for universal health care, before he was against it, sort of bags that whole "repeal and replace" argument.

    Paul will be the divider. the tea gaggers will vote and may get him the primary, but doomed to fail in the general. Do away with Medicare, etc a non-starter

    Have you not heard all the old white folks Rving across American from one KKK rally to the next, I think they call themselves the tea bagger Express, screaming keep your "socialist" hands off my Medicare.

    That just leaves little missy, the witless Wasilla Wonder Bra.

    Please, God let Palin and Bachmann run in 2012, I already have the bumper sticker.

    “Playtex Palin/Bali Bachmann, the perfect boobs for 2012“!

    April 11, 2010 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
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