Ron Paul Won CPAC’s Presidential Straw Poll: What Does It Mean?

There has been a lot of talk about Ron Paul’s straw poll win at CPAC. Here’s how it broke down:

Ron Paul 31%
Mitt Romney 22%
Sarah Palin 7%
Tim Pawlenty 6%
Mike Pence 5%
Newt Gingrich 4%
Mike Huckabee 4%
Mitch Daniels 2%
John Thune 2%
Rick Santorum 2%
Haley Barbour 1%

First off, was this result representative of the opinion at CPAC? No. When Paul’s name was announced, it was lustily boo’d by the audience. Also, if you’re wondering why Sarah Palin only came in third — well, she didn’t show up at the event and her aides trashed it to the press. When it comes to candidates, if you don’t show at CPAC, you don’t get any love at CPAC.

Still, you may be wondering: How did Paul win? Essentially, he pulled it off the same way he wins online polls. Not everybody votes and a small number of dedicated people can have a large impact. At CPAC, only about a quarter of the people participated in the straw poll, but I guarantee you almost every Ron Paul supporter in the building was there casting a vote for their guy.

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Whether you like Ron Paul or not, his fans show up, they have a lot of energy, and they will do anything and everything they can to promote Ron Paul. Over the course of the convention, I must have had Paulites try to hand me flyers promoting his events 20-30 times. These guys hustle and it shows. They busted their butts to help Ron Paul win that straw poll and my hat’s off to them. Enjoy the win!

Now of course, some people don’t look at it that way. They’re saying things like, “Gosh, how does it look for conservatives when Ron Paul is winning the straw poll?”

Here’s the thing, folks: where do you want Libertarians? Do you want them outside the Republican party, running loser candidates who siphon off 2% of the GOP vote, and accomplishing nothing but electing more Democrats or do you want them inside the GOP, trying to change things?

Personally, I want Libertarians inside the GOP — and it makes sense for them to be here. Libertarians and conservatives don’t agree on everything, but we do agree on one of: the biggest issues out there: we need to shrink the size of government and cut spending. If we can work together to get that accomplished, let’s do it.

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