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October 15, 2007
Ron Paul Wins CLC Straw Poll
It doesn't mean that much as far as Ron Paul is concerned but there is little doubt that Mitt Romney was embarrassed by the Texas Congressman's win in the Conservative Leadership Conference straw poll yesterday:
Paul won with 33 percent, Romney came in second with 16 percent and Duncan Hunter was just behind with 15 percent. "Undecided" was fourth with 11 percent, and Thompson and Giuliani were next and ahead of the rest of the pack -- all in single digits. Granted the straw poll did not reflect the views of of any but a tiny fraction of the Republican party. But it is significant if only because Mitt Romney took the time to attend the conference and lobby the attendees while Ron Paul passed on it.
Raw numbers haven't been provided, but there were approximately 430 registrants at the opening of the conference. Although many of the Republican presidential teams had surrogates representing them at the conference, Mitt Romney and Duncan Hunter were the only candidates to speak at the conference, and the victor himself was not there.
Libertarian sentiment dominated the conference, and a number of attendees expressed disappointment with the Republican Party for not catering to many of their views. Several speakers explained that they were looking to move on, echoing much of the discontent that came out of the meeting of the Council for National Policy in Salt Lake City late last month.
Further, I think it relfects a basic weakness in Romney's campaign; a failure to excite Republicans at any level. He has plenty of money. He has presence on the stump that imparts a sense of competence and knowledge of the issues.
But in the end, he just doesn't generate any sparks among Republicans. This may change if he were to win the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire primaries. At the moment however, Romney is barely out of single digits nationally and has failed to make any headway in recent months against Rudy Giuliani's big lead.
Ed Morrissey was at the CLC and had this to say about the straw vote:
The straw poll came out as I would have predicted. Ron Paul had a large contingent of supporters at the CLC, and even though Paul inexplicably ignored this event, they remained loyal to him. He won about a third of the votes and finished far ahead of his competitors. If I recall (this was announced at the dinner), Duncan Hunter finished second, and Romney finished third. Both appeared at the CLC, and both impressed the crowd. Hunter made a bigger impact because he mixed with the crowd, shaking hands and taking the time to talk with the attendees. "Undecided" beat most of the rest of the candidates, and Giuliani came in dead last or just above it.Romney has less than 90 days to light a fire under his campaign in order to catch the front runners. Judging by the results of the CLC straw poll, he has a long way to go.