An outlier? Or is Pence's victory indicative that we are in for a surprising GOP contest in 2012?
I'll punt. It appears that the 723 respondents in the poll favored those who actually showed up to speak at the Value Voters Summit. But still, the idea that a relatively unknown Congressman could finish on top is either a sign that Pence is better organized than anyone thought or stalwarts like Romney, Huckabee, and Palin aren't exciting too many people at this point.
The Los Angeles Times:
Pence, chair of the House Republican conference, received 24% of the vote, edging the winner of the 2009 straw poll, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who received 22%. Each addressed the gathering on Friday, as did third-place finisher Mitt Romney, who won 13% of the vote.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who spoke Saturday, received 10%. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who did not attend, finished a distant fifth with 7%.
Of the nearly 2,000 people who registered for the conference, 723 voted in the straw poll. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, whose group organized the event, said the results were "descriptive of the type of candidate value voters would be looking for."
"We're a long ways from the election," he said. But Pence "represents the qualities and the character that many voters in America are looking for."
Pence is a very bright fellow with a lot to recommend him. But is the base ready to support a GOP insider and member of Boehner's leadership team? Unless the Indiana congressman can distance himself somehow from the establishment as Gingrich is trying to do - and failing - I don't see him making much of a run in 2012.