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

Romney wins presidential straw poll by a single vote

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/29/art.romney.7.gi.jpg caption ="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. MikeH

    Buw-wa-ha ha ha ha, snort (the sound of me blowing coffee out my nose).

    Go Mitt, I'd love to see your pathological lying a$$ go up against Obama.

    April 11, 2010 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  2. Marcus

    About Ron Paul: If he's not libertarian he's way too close of it, which means that he doesn't trust the government meddling with anything other than the stricter than strictest view of its Constitutional powers and prerogatives (but then again, everyone has the right to have its opinion about it). Good fellow though and with a good record of work in the Congress, plus his points of view are always exposed in racional arguments.

    About Mitt Romney: I would like to remember when was the last time that he said anything about everything that was based on a rational argument. Plus he panders to a group that will never trully accepts him due to his faith (and will always go after a better – more Christian in their minds – option than him), showing lack of self-respect in favor of his political ambitions.

    With Ron Paul there will be a good fight, not clean since there's always someone (on both sides) that prefers to smear and call names..., and there will be very interesting encounters with him and President Obama in which BOTH OF THEM will be able to expose their ideas and proposals without any mechanical help from the back stage or stutters from any of them.

    With Mitt Romney... I'll have a heyday showing each and every lie that he had said and will say about the current presidency, most of them easily debunked (but still accepted as truth by Gopers).

    April 11, 2010 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Romney is the man McCain should have carried with him as VP. This man is smart, educated and knows where the bucks stops. If Republicans were smart, this would be the pick, forget about his religion, I'm a democrat and he has all the qualifications. He can win.

    April 11, 2010 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  4. MikeH

    Hey Mitt, did any of your sons EVER serve in the military? Or are they cowards more interested in pursuing wealth and power?

    April 11, 2010 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  5. ConstitutionalPatriot

    Romney = George W. Bush neocon, Ron Paul = freedom

    April 11, 2010 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
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