April 10th, 2010
08:11 PM ET
12 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. frank

    Guess they don't plan on winning for the forseeable future.....

    April 10, 2010 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  2. John

    That's the way to go republicans, pick a cultist to lead your party. Did any of you think what would happen if one of those Mormon Elders has a revelation from God telling him to tax the rich? Mitt would have to follow orders from God, Oh what a mess that would be.

    April 10, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  3. Sarahsnutz

    Well, well, well..... All the posturing, posing and verbal diarhea... Repeal the Health Care Bill.....!!! and who comes out on top? – Romney, the grand originator of almost the identical bill in Mass. WHAT? – Good luck arguing President Obama against a your own plan!!!! Good move Republicans –

    Obama-Biden 2012

    April 10, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  4. ConstitutionalPatriot

    Great results considering the news that Romney was buying tickets for individuals on the condition they would vote for him. The revolution continues and nothing can stop it! A president for the people and not a party in 2012. Vote Ron Paul!

    April 10, 2010 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  5. bob

    This is like a pig weighing contest. What is a few more pounds (votes) when they are all pigs?

    Except one wears lipstick.

    April 10, 2010 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  6. Perusing-through


    My guess is the rednecks are scratching their heads in bewilderment right now? They are wondering why Alaska's Caribou Palin didn't win the straw poll?

    Answer is that most people know Sarah "Reload" Palin is a political airhead? NO MALICE INTENDED, JUST A FACT.

    April 10, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  7. Dean in PA

    LMAO.... so nice to see the Repugnicans so divided. One point. That is soooo rich.

    April 10, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  8. Perusing-through


    In a blind test-vote, intelligent people will always cast their vote for intelligent leaders.

    A pit-bull with lipstick (her words, not mine) is no match against a 10-ton elephant with brains. Hey pit-bull, go back to school and put on some 'intellectual weight'.

    April 10, 2010 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  9. Sarah the baby seal basher

    Wow,Mitt and his magical BVDs?He better get a cape to go with them.hahaha

    April 10, 2010 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  10. ray

    terrorists number 2 ,these peole should be in prison.

    April 10, 2010 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  11. Sue

    Mitt Romney-–who is going to beat Obama in 2012!!!

    Mitt Romney--a business/economic/financial genius.

    Can you imagine the debates between Romney and Obama--Obama without his teleprompter!!!

    Go Romney!!!! And, pick someone like Scott Brown or Marc Rubio to be your VP running mate to seal the deal.

    And, for those who say that Scott Brown could not be the VP because of both being from Massachusetts--Romney's "main" residence is either in Michigan or Utah (I can't remember which).

    April 10, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  12. Jin

    As a social liberal I hope Romney wins the Publican nomination. That will assure another four yeears of a moderate presidency that will not suck up to corporate villains!

    April 10, 2010 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  13. james

    This is a man that thinks its all UNIONS faults.
    This is a man that won't work on Sundays.
    This is a man that thinks he WILL be GOD of his own worlds.
    This is a man that won't swim or do sports on Sundays.
    This is man that was born rich and NEVER and I repeat NEVER worried about day to day life stresses that WORKING Americans do.
    This is a man that flip flops to be popular.
    This is a man that can not be trusted
    This is man that made BILLIONS on people LOOSING their jobs.
    This is man that is NOT right for America!

    This is what evil looks like people!

    April 10, 2010 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  14. Jonathan Williams

    I think that we should give a real hard look at Ron Paul for this next Presidential election I personally think he is the man for the job RON PAUL for President 2012

    April 10, 2010 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  15. Northwest

    Watch this cruiser of a looser go down the drain with the next flush jusr as he did before and will again. Go back to Utah Romney

    April 10, 2010 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  16. TM

    So Willard Mit Romney sticks his head above ground again. The same guy that takes credit for Massachusetts' Health care plan with one face while criticizing the same plan on a national scale with the other. Mittens has been a two faced, oily haired , used car salesman, all his political career. This is what the Republicans choose to lead them? Palin/Romney? What are they thinking?

    April 10, 2010 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  17. nilla

    Well, Peter, at least in the last few minutes you've grasped the basic concepts of sequential order. That's a start.

    April 10, 2010 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  18. virginiarox

    Ron Paul, the only Republican Candidate likely to get bipartisan votes, will be shunned by the ultra right. They are scared of Ron, and at the same time need him. Silly GOP!

    April 10, 2010 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  19. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    What a joke this exercise is. It's plainly true that, even as they disagree with some of his policies, even as the health care debate remains divided, people LIKE Obama. They like his calm. They like how he stays above the fray while his enemies squeal and scream and generally make a childish scene by comparison. Regardless of the congressional makeup in 2012, people will like and trust Obama enough to re-elect him easily again any of these cartoon characters. The GOP better find some real meat fast. Obama gets at least 60 percent against Romney, Newt or Palin. None of them will be remotely worthy of the nomination. Any ideas, Mr. Steele? What's that, off to make another speech? Good night and good luck.

    April 10, 2010 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  20. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    That might make a decent GOP ticket, Romney for the hair, Paul for the common sense.

    April 10, 2010 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  21. T.W. Harris, Texas

    Romney if you do run for president – do not get Ron Paul as your VP nor Newt Gingrich. The momentum being upstarted will come to an abrupt halt with me. I am from Texas and I do not like either one of those guys.

    April 10, 2010 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  22. catmomtx

    Oh, wow !! Mitt Romney a person who spent a whole lot of his own money but dropped out anyway. A person who is trying to distance himself from health care even when it is just like the one he was responsible for in Mass. A person that was saying pretty much the same things during the last Presidential election but was rejected in part because he was an, hmmm , a, well a Mormon....

    April 10, 2010 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  23. Perusing-through


    Newt realized early he had no chance to win RNC straw poll, which he desperately wanted as a prelude to winning Sarah Palin type money. Once he realized he was down in the straw polls, he threw his weight on Palin's bandwagon, assuming she would the straw poll?

    But instead, Romney who had not shown up won the straw poll, and as it turned out Newt hitched his horse to the wrong wagon – – again.

    April 10, 2010 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  24. Charlie in Maine

    Again Romeny shows his face again. Of course they will do waht they want as is their right but geez Louise Mitt Romney?????

    He is the only one of the bunch that could actually prove the liberals wrong and be worse than George W Bush. I will never say "they can't do worse" because they keep on trying so hard.

    April 10, 2010 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  25. Pkm

    I have nice friends who are morman but with allthe trouble the mormons have had mitt will not be elected imike steele for prez the dem will love you

    April 10, 2010 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
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