February 28th, 2009
04:56 PM ET
14 years ago

Romney wins conservative straw poll

[cnn-photo-caption image = http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/28/cpac/art.cpac.romney.gi.jpg.jpg
caption="Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the straw poll for the third year in a row."]
(CNN) - One day after delivering a forceful campaign-style speech to the conference of conservative activists, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won his third straight CPAC Straw Poll on Saturday, earning 20 percent of the vote on a ballot that included nine other Republicans who could seek the party’s presidential nomination in 2012.

Romney’s straw poll win at the 2007 Conservative Political Action Conference helped to elevate Romney from a little-known governor to a bona fide presidential frontrunner, and his narrow victory in last year’s straw poll reaffirmed his support among conservative voters. But Romney failed to win the Republican nomination, which was eventually won by Arizona Sen. John McCain.

In the 2009 poll, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal came in second with 14 percent of the vote, while Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Texas Rep. Ron Paul tied at 13 percent. Jindal and Palin did not attend the conference.

Rounding out the straw poll results were former House speaker Newt Gingrich at 10 percent, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at seven percent, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford at four percent, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani at three percent, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty at two percent, and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist at one percent. Nine percent of poll participants were undecided.

The straw poll was conducted over two days and surveyed 1,757 of the party activists who descended on Washington for the annual conference. More than half of the conference attendees this year were college students, and nearly 60 percent of the straw poll participants were between the ages of 18 and 25.

Filed under: Mitt Romney • Republican Party
soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. B C

    Congratulations Governor Romney.

    I hope you are intelligent enough to realize that the portion of the CPAC conference that aired today with Rush Limbaugh made you all look not only like the party of "No", but the party of Hate.

    Your party has given this country a continuous litany of what you don't like and don't want. But no one has talked to us about where the Republican Party wants to take this country.

    What are your alternatives to the Democratic plans?
    What are the specifics of your plans?

    February 28, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  2. Shannon

    Who cares, he can't beat Obama. He spent alot of his money last time he ran, but it did not help him.

    February 28, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  3. Cromwell

    Mitt Romney is the new Messiah of the Supply-Siders.
    He is the Republican Party's pre-ordained candidate in 2012.

    Over the next four years, the Republican Party will package and sell Romney was a born-again Christian, rock solid Conservative in the same way that they sold George Bush to the voters as a true Conservative.

    Neither Bush or Romney are true Conservatives.
    Romney is just another rich twit, Country Club Republican empty suit.

    February 28, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  4. Ron Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

    This is great! Now we know Obama will get a second term.I really don't think the republicans have anyone who can run for president.At this time they need to change there thinking and come up with caring individuals who want to better the lives of all people.Not just there rich friends and family,and a select few.

    February 28, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  5. James A.

    First, let me be clear, I am an avid Obama supporter and I believe he is leading the country in the right direction. However, I think the Republicans are correct in choosing Mitt Romney as the best contender for a 2012 run. He has the intellect and the charisma to give Obama a real run for his money. Had he won the Republican Party’s nomination last year, I am pretty sure the debates would have been a lot more interesting and a lot less lopsided.
    I must also add that it was interesting to see Rush Limbaugh actually talk to a live audience, instead of hiding behind a bunch of equipment, isolated in his little studio. He is actually likeable in this kind of setting and looks a lot more like a human being this way.

    February 28, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  6. josh

    Batten down the hatches! Here comes the liberal hate!

    February 28, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  7. John, Montreal

    Good for him & the republican base...its ONLY the third year running!

    February 28, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  8. DrGonzo

    They love him now..But the base won't follow.. He is Mormon and they will never vote NON- X-tian.

    The gop is stuck in a big hole..Independants will not follow a right winger and the Right wing won't follow anyone a right winger.
    They are screwed..They need a new and improved Candidate!

    February 28, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  9. DrGonzo

    They love him now..But the base won't follow.. He is Mormon and they will never vote NON- X-tian.

    The gop is stuck in a big hole..Independants will not follow a right winger and the Right wing won't follow anyone but a right winger.
    They are screwed..They need a new and improved Candidate!

    February 28, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  10. That Other Jerry

    Could be wrong, but to date I haven't seen or heard anything out of Romney to indicate he could be the new face of the Republican party. Unless Obama totally crashes and burns before 2012, voters are going to look at the choice between him and yet another white-collar, white-bread, white-skinned male Republican, and they're going to hand Obama a landslide like we haven't seen since Reagan. I thought maybe when the RNC chose Steele, they were starting to get it. Obviously not. The GOP has less than four years to convince this lifelong Republican they have something better to offer than Barack Obama. They're going to have to start soon.

    February 28, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  11. Honest Abe

    Romney wins the race to be the Biggest Loser! He'll get squashed like McCain! Was that all they have???

    February 28, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  12. Tom

    This is excellent news! Bring him 'on, Repubs. Obama will take him to the woodshed in 2012. What a pathetic gathering this is! Limbaugh, Romney, Coulter. Add to that the likes of Palin and Jindal. Is this a political party or a bad sitcom? Both!

    February 28, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  13. Patrick Meyer

    I'm glad that Romney, Jindal, and Palin all did well in the poll. All of them would be good contenders in 2012.

    February 28, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  14. Jason

    I can't tell what has more slime, Mitt or his hair?

    February 28, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  15. Inverted Party

    Interesting that their two lowest in the straw poll are the most likely to have a chance to follow President Obama in 2016.

    February 28, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  16. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    Does not mean much if the party is still perceived as for the rich, the well connected and the wanna-bees.

    February 28, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Testing, Testing....
    What will he bring to the table that he didn't bring last go round? Being a businessman is nothing like being President. He's a rich elitist.

    February 28, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  18. al

    Ramney the best choyce ithik he is the smarttes of all

    February 28, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  19. No Hillary = No Obama

    And in 2012 he will be winning the Presidency.

    February 28, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  20. Greg In Colorado

    wonderful,, good luck with that. Romney defeat in 12.

    February 28, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  21. Patty in the CA mountains

    How'd that work for them last time?

    February 28, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  22. charkey

    As a big Obama supporter I would have to say this scares me but hopefully Obama has a good first term. God bless AMerica and our leader

    February 28, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  23. Dan J

    I would love for the Republican party to go back to its true roots, and base the party on the likes of Lincoln and Reagan. Unfortunately, CPAC, many of its speakers, and a lot of its endorsements are not in this direction.

    The republican party DOES need to strike a more populist tone, which happens to be in line with their values anyways. The only good thing I heard out of CPAC was from Tim Pawlenty, who said they need to attract the Sam's Club crowd... people that represent our nation's backbone.

    February 28, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  24. Sean

    great job

    February 28, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  25. Tariq

    Coming from a democrat...I would say Gov. Charlie Crist...Ron Paul are the type of Republicans that really have what it takes to take it away from Obama 2012. They are popular, sincere, and have a good following!

    .....But of course, these are sensible people...the Republican party can't have that.

    February 28, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
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