Mittens wins his 4th CPAC Straw Poll… ho hum

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It’s another CPAC year, and it appears that not much is new. Mitt Romney will still say anything to convince the GOP and conservative voters that his past doesn’t exist, and the CPAC attendees still bounce back and forth between the same two names they’ve done since 2007… Mitt or Ron Paul. After CPAC 2010-2011 Straw Polls, handing the victory to Ron Paul, Romney regained his crown and chalked up yet another CPAC win with 38% of the 3,408 attendees. Santorum came in second with 31%, Gingrich third at 15%, and Ron Paul trailing last with 12%.

The participation in the straw poll – always traditionally low – seems to echo that same pattern considering the estimated attendance of 10,000 touted. Al Cardenas, chair of the American Conservative Union which sponsors CPAC, had hoped a change of rules, allowing attendees to vote electronically with their phones and iPads, instead of just through paper ballots, would boost the voting participation.

“No one’s stacking the deck this year,” Cardenas said. “It’s a wide-open process. I don’t think any of [the candidates] want to be caught with a perception that they’re trying to stack the deck and then lose the straw ballot. … The outcome will be far less predictable.”

All that according to Cardenas adds up to results that, when they’re announced Saturday, will be a real barometer of which presidential candidate the thousands of attendees at CPAC like the most.

“This is the first time that you’re going to have the ultimate focus group of 10,000 people (or whatever it turns out to be) listening to four candidates over the same period of time, voting on who they like the best,” Cardenas told me at his morning press conference. “They’re going to be swayed by the passion of the orator. Whether they end up voting for the person they came in supporting or not, I think that’s one of the most interesting stories for you fellows to follow.”

Personally, I would think such electronic polls leave you even more open to a fraudulent count, as any well versed Ron Paul supporter can attest. In fact, as the masters of swamping any electronic poll, the CPAC officials are lucky that most the Ron Paul voters were MIA, along with their candidate. Indeed, the electronic voting seemed to be one of the hopes CPAC had to keep the Ron Paul supporters from gaming the system, and hope for at least 2/3rds of those attending to participate.

This year, the American Conservative Union and CPAC are moving from paper ballots to electronic voting that will be accessible from a computer or a handheld device, said Al Cardenas, the conservative union’s current president. He told The Huffington Post that he hopes this will increase the number of attendees who participate in the straw poll.

“Obviously, in the past, it’s been somewhat compromised because only a third of the people who attend voted,” Cardenas said in an interview. “It used to be a fairly cumbersome process because you had to do it manually. Now, for the first time this year we’re instituting an electronic vote.

“So people can vote through Saturday afternoon, and before, that wasn’t the case,” he said. “And we’re hoping that instead of having a third of those in attendance vote, we’ll have two-thirds or more vote.”

CPAC Attendance Chart - 1976 to present

Despite the rapidly increasing of attendance at CPAC since 2000, and assuming the “focus group of 10,000 people” is close to the 2012 attendance, a participation rate of 34% via new media is a disappointing voting statistic in itself. And if you further parse the numbers, Romney’s win pencils out to a big 1,295 attendees out of 10,000 voting for him.

If you’re Romney, should you be celebrating that only 1.2% of all CPAC attendees wanted to vote for him, and most of them there didn’t want to vote for anyone? Instead, the lack of participation makes a serious statement on the lackluster enthusiasm by what is supposed to be a charged up base of conservatives, eager to beat Obama with literally any one with an “R” behind their names or, as others have stated, any handy inanimate object.

If this all that would postpone their next text or tweet in order to muster up the Herculean effort of an electronic vote, the conservative base and GOP Party are in big trouble. Because no matter how you spin it, 66% approximate are still unhappy with the political buffet laid before them…. even after what has been promoted as a wildly positive event.

Probably about as accurate or scientific as the Straw Poll itself is S.E. Cupps’ own personal straw poll Friday evening, where it seems the true winner is which ever direction the wind is blowing that day, the “Frankenstein” candidate… a piece of this guy, and another piece of that one…. and not to be ignored, the amount of people who stated that their convictions were impossible to ignore that were running along side those that would vote for an empty can of Spam over Obama.

“Decidedly undecided” says it all. If you get an answer today, be sure to ask again next week to see if it’s the same answer.

But if the history of the CPAC Straw Poll winners bears out, Romney’s fourth win will unlikely translate to anything more rewarding than his previous wins. Since it’s inception in 1976, only Reagan and Bush have gone on to get the nod at the GOP Convention, let alone get to the WH. Other winners, Jack Kemp, Phil Gramm, Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, Rudy Giuliana, George Allen, Mittens and Ron Paul, have failed to make the grade.

In fact, the failure rate of CPAC winners is a dubious legacy enshrined by the neo-liberal rag, The New Republic, in a slideshow.

So congrats to Mittens for chalking up his fourth win. But since the third time wasn’t the charm, I’m not thinking the fourth will do much, except to give him empty bragging rights. Maybe next year he should compete on Dancing with the Stars. At least he’ll could nab a mirror ball trophy for his efforts.

Vietnam era Navy wife, indy/conservative, and an official California escapee now residing as a red speck in the sea of Oregon blue.

77 Responses to “Mittens wins his 4th CPAC Straw Poll… ho hum”

  1. 51


    Hank Rockwell Jr
    yes sir you have more than earn to give your opinion, you even lived it.
    and It’s well taken into appreciation and worthy of looking at and debate with fair exchanges,
    as we do here at FA.

  2. 52


    @Hank Rockwell Jr: First of all, thank you for your service to our country.

    Secondly, let me address some of the items you raised, and let me also say that I mean no disrespect.

    Romney is the only candidate running that isn’t a career politician.

    Only because he lost his battle for Teddy Kennedy’s Senate seat, and also didn’t run for re-election as Governor of Massachusetts.

    As far as Massachusetts is concerned, Romney did what he had too to get in, and soon afterward, he turned the state around.

    If we agree on the premise that he said what he needed to in order to get elected, that raises two points.

    1. You are basically saying that he has no integrity, telling the electorate what they want to hear instead of running on his principles.
    2. If he said what he needed to in order to get elected – that he believed in and advocated for Romneycare – then why does he not do the reverse now to become POTUS? In other words, he won’t say what the Conservative voting base wants to hear and admit Romneycare was a mistake. If it was just a ruse why won’t he back away from it? – Because he believes in top-down, authoritarian government-run health care, or in the very least, he believes in big-government answers to societal problems.

    Please consider this for one moment, if you will. If it hadn’t been for progressive thought Columbus would have never discovered America, slaves would still be slaves, and miracle cures would have never been discovered.

    You are conflating political ideology with the pursuit of scientific discovery in the case of Columbus and the vague idea of miracle cures. Are you saying that Conservatives are not capable of pursuing new frontiers in the scientific community? In health related science? Astronomy? Biology? Are progressives the only people who have a thirst for bettering mankind?

    I’m sorry, but you strike me as an intelligent person and that is not a very open minded view of Conservative thought.

    Please consider this for one moment, if you will. If it hadn’t been for progressive thought…slaves would still be slaves…

    Really? Our Founding Fathers did not pretend that slave holding was a good thing. They were not hypocritical about this, in fact they condemned it. In most of our young (at that time, of course) Union, they abolished slavery. Where they did not get it abolished, they publicly condemned it. Had not the Declaration of Independence (which was authored by Thomas Jefferson – a very Conservative man), been written and conceived in the idea all men being free and equal before nature and nature’s law, or God, then there would have been no foundation for the ending of slavery nearly a century later. – “Source, Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College on the Mark Levin Radio Show February 16, 2012

    So to simply say that slavery would still exist, had it not be for progressive ideology is wrong on so many levels.

  3. 55



    antics, just to add to your retort about Romney’s “career” as a politician/insider…

    What is obvious about Romney is two things..

    1: That he was astute enough after his loss to Kennedy for a Senate seat in the 90s not to make that attempt again, and

    2: Romney doesn’t like “entry level” jobs.

    To clarify on point #2, Romney never held an elected official office. When he tried, he went straight for a US Senate seat. Never was a state legislator. Wasn’t even a House Rep, trying to move to the other chamber.

    Instead, Romney obviously feels that the top dog position is rightfully his. He tried for Senate, bypassing usually lower body experience. When that didn’t work, he went for “king” of MA, where he helped advance that state’s liberal agenda for healthcare mandates, and anti-coal/pro AGW policies. Hang, he was even anti-wind power, standing with Kennedy to stop Cape Wind because it would affect the property values of his rich buds there. Then he threw in a ton of liberal judges as well.

    When he was done doing the liberals bidding in the state, he came out and didn’t try for a Congressional seat. Oh no… only leader of the free world would do. So he immediately started campaigning for his next career advancement, and has been doing so for the past six years.

    Moral of of the story? The only reason that Romney isn’t considered (but is) an insider is because of his failed attempts to be officially an insider in the past 15 some odd years. But there is plenty of “insider” money and support for him to draw on.

    No “outsider” would be getting the blessing of the GOP establishment and punditry.

  4. 56


    I was just thinking, when ROMNEY CRITICIZE NEWT FOR TALKING about he would get the NASA working again for a MOON MISSION, HOW grand the AMERICANS WHERE THINKING THEN WHEN IT BECAME real, and the fact that ROMNEY CRITICIZE IT, and joke about it showed the difference of his true vision which is looking at an AMERICA minimize by THE DEMOCRATS COMMUNIST ENTITELMENTS AGENDA,
    and he was going to keep it mediocre if he win, no grand vision for AMERICA,
    but NEWT GINGRICH CAME IN AND TALK OF A VISION ON A GRAND SCALE, which would lift the real spirit of the real AMERICA, NEWT TOLD THE AMERICANS,to look again bigger by this plan which would bring so much jobs beside the keystone pipeline and any giant project to the scale of what AMERICA IS CAPABLE TO , AS SHE HAS PROVED BEFORE BEING HUMILIATE AND MADE SO LOW IN THE FACE OF A PRESIDENT apologetic for her, bowing to other inferior COUNTRIES,
    NEWT SHOWED HIS PASSION FOR AMERICA with that speech alone, and was attacked for being a real visionary of what AMERICA SHOULD COME BACK TO THINK, THEY CAN CONQUER THE SPACE AGAIN
    and regain their might over any NATION OF THE WORLD AND BE FREE AS THEY WHERE MEANT TO BE,
    before one came to make them a defeated country smaller, depress and humiliate, who are not even understood what it is

  5. 57

    Hank Rockwell Jr

    If Newt wins (which he won’t), Republican women will be crying when they are forced to vote for him over Obama.
    If Santorum wins (which he won’t), prepare for an American theocracy.
    If Paul wins (which he won’t), prepare for military invasion.
    I believe you know the dog I have in this fight so I won’t elaborate.
    It’s been a pleasure reading your opinions and y’all have a nice week. I will too because I’m heading to Lacey, Wa. to visit my son who just returned from his 7th deployment to Afghanistan with his 1 st. Group team.

    Quote of the day.

    “If you can’t afford a doctor, go to any airport – you’ll get a free x-ray and a breast exam, and, if you mention Al Qaeda, you’ll get a free colonoscopy.”

    Till later.

  6. 58


    Hank Rockwell Jr
    wow 7th deployment incredible, some braves there, tell your son, don’t push your luck,
    best to you and your son.
    and you know that one of the candidate will take AMERICA TO HER FUTURE DESTINY,
    may it lead to what is necessary to happen, a new PRESIDENT OF THE GREAT USA.

    I did not get your quote,but I was just leaving the SUN NEWS on TV, talking about radicalist in MOSQUE IN TORONTO the IMAN INDY of SALAHEDDIN MOSQUE BREEDING GROUND for radicallization on student IN THEIR SCHOOL funded by SAUDI ARABIA

  7. 59


    @Hank Rockwell Jr: You said:

    If Newt wins (which he won’t), Republican women will be crying when they are forced to vote for him over Obama.

    He might have lost the female vote in Florida, but not in South Carolina.

    Theocraxy? Really??? Just a tad bit dramatic there.

    I was disappointed that you failed to respond to my comments here.

  8. 61


    they are pushing harder and harder to erase the CHRISTIAN PRAYERS, THEY ARE IN THE NEWS NOW,
    WHO WILL WIN, THE earsay it’s start about 5 years ago., so slowly but surely,
    the AMERICAS have the same problem, they made the great mistake to let them in GOVERNMENT,
    and the war is beginning.

  9. 63


    they are in bed together, hope the MILITARY KNOW THAT,
    what are they cooking together?

  10. 64


    @Hank Rockwell Jr: Who do you think would invade us if Paul were President? Most of the criticisms of Paul’s foreign policy that I’ve seen revolve around the idea that we have vital interests to defend abroad, and that he wouldn’t do that. I sort of agree with that (I just don’t agree that those interests are as vital as some make them out to be). That he would invite invasion is news to me inasfar as his ideas for the US Military could be described as ‘Fortress America’.
    As for Romney, whom you support, he’s my second choice. Not because I think he’s conservative, but because I think moderates can be decent presidents under the right conditions (see: Eisenhower, arguably also Clinton though I imagine that would not be a popular claim around here…). It would be better to have someone who would reverse Obama’s policies, but failing that someone who at least has management skills, diplomacy, and the ability to read a balance sheet would be a fair upgrade.

  11. 65



    bbart: That he would invite invasion is news to me inasfar as his ideas for the US Military could be described as ‘Fortress America’

    A couple of good submarines and a large arsenal of nukes is “Fortress America”?

    Ron Paul for Treasury Secretary!!

  12. 66

    Hank Rockwell Jr

    To whom it may concern,

    This year, every Republican candidate for president opposes abortion, promises to repeal Obamacare, opposes raising taxes, and on and on. Only one candidate is strong on illegal immigration, which is second only to repealing Obamacare as the most important issue facing the nation.
    That’s the alleged liberal, Mitt Romney.
    If reducing contraception use, lobbying for Freddie Mac and promoting huge government programs such as moon colonies and No Child Left Behind are the best ways to create jobs, then it could be true that Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are our strongest candidates in a general election.

    Have a nice day.
    Hank Jr

    PS. bbartlog I have nothing against Ron Paul either. In fact I kind of like the guy well enough to vote for him in the general election. However, I will never cast my vote towards Santorum or Gingrich. I will vote with my conscience and my heart even if that translates to a “write in” candidate. After forcing myself to vote for McCain the last go around, I’ve decided never to compromise my values and ethics ever again.

  13. 68


    @Hank Rockwell Jr: ‘Only one candidate is strong on illegal immigration, which is second only to repealing Obamacare as the most important issue facing the nation.’

    I’d argue that it’s even more important, but the question is how much credibility to attach to Romney’s stated position on illegal immigration (I also note that unlike Gingrich he does not explicitly mention repatriation/deportation). For what it’s worth I’m not really happy with any of the candidates on illegal immigration. For example, Paul, libertarian that he is, seems to feel that the main issue is removing incentives such as welfare or other handouts, which would reduce illegal immigration. Well, true enough and a nice step by itself – but large real incentives would remain so long as we had better jobs here than in Mexico, and it’s simply not possible to remove all the externalities created by illegal immigration.
    In any case I think that Gingrich and Romney have pretty similar positions on illegal immigration and I’d actually give the edge to Gingrich for being willing to mention repatriation as well as possible exemptions to same. But for both of them I’m also inclined to steeply discount the likelihood they would actually follow through.

  14. 69


    @Hank Rockwell Jr: You said:

    After forcing myself to vote for McCain the last go around, I’ve decided never to compromise my values and ethics ever again.

    Huh? So to keep from compromising your values, you are supporting a guy who wets his finger and puts it up in the wind before answering a question or taking a policy stance?

    Here is Romney in 2002:

    “I will not change any provisions of Massachusetts’ pro-choice laws. And with regards to this issue of age of consent, it is currently 18-years-old. If one wants to have an abortion younger than that, one must have the permission of one parent and if a parent doesn’t go along, one can go to a judge or justice to get that permission.

    Yep, nothing like not compromising values…

    Look Hank, you can be so much in favor of Romney that you wear a “I heart Mitt” t-shirt to bed every night. Just don’t try to pretend that he is anything close to being a Conservative.

  15. 71

    Larry Sheldon

    It appears that all are united on the belief (that none has the strength to enunciate) the the solution to the immigration problem it to destroy everything that makes the USA a desirable place to be, by destroying industry and commerce, by inflating our currency, by moving things like healthcare and education below the lowest standards of the worst “third world” nation.

    Don’t tell be that I have to select a Republican communist because he can beat the Dmeocr5atic Communist because this is not the Stupor Bowl.

    And I guess if that is my choice, I’ll take the one that is honest about who he is and what he wants to destroy. Saves the cost of repainting the Oval Office.

  16. 72


    Larry Sheldon
    hi, why do yo care about the repainting of the WHITE HOUSE ,you paid for it
    but the saving wont come back in your pocket, it will be spend somewhere else,
    so take a chance, maybe you will have a nice surprise, but you can be sure of the
    gains you will benefit to have an AMERICAN WHO WILL CARE FOR AMERICA,
    IF it is a MORMON, just listen to the video of the songs for AMERICA they have made with their chorus
    of so many hundreds, it will reassure you on ROMNEY, and if it is a more CONSERVATIVE who win ,
    then you will be satisfied, a nd the WHITE HOUSE will change her color from mustard to white again no matter if either
    one of our side win.


  17. 73

    Larry Sheldon

    @ilovebeeswarzone: Too subtle, I guess…

    Assumption (not necessarily valid): If Obama is reelected he won’t feel the need to remark the Oval Office and we will be spared the expense. If one of the current crop is elected, he will feel the need to make his mark there at typically huge expense.

    Belief: If Obama is re-elected, nothing changes. If any of the RINOs is elected, the paint in the Oval Office is changes, but nothing else is.

    Interesting typo (subliminal?) — I started to type Offal (Orifice?) the second time up there.

  18. 74


    Larry Sheldon
    you are forgetting some very important facts there,
    the marking is not done with a second 4 years, you are wrong to think that nothing worse will happen,
    with that kind of leader, and you should listen to the warning from all sides telling of more destruction,
    with another 4 years, you don’t see it because you have not perceived it, but many did and are right too.
    just open your mind and observe, you know the details is in the pudding gone rotten

  19. 75


    @Larry Sheldon: Nice strawman you got there. Actually of course, it’s backwards: the only way a nation can afford to have nice public amenities is by maintaining a population that has a high average level of productivity. My desire is not to make the US inhospitable, but to make it economically feasible for it to have a high standard of living (whether small *or* big government).
    Now, as it happens, a less generous welfare state and smaller government actually make it more practical to absorb a large influx of unskilled immigrants (compare Texas to California and you can see what I mean). One of the ironies of modern left/right politics is that if the people who want a nice European-style public sector were sane, they would be ferociously manning the barricades against illegal immigration (or any low-skilled immigration) in order to maintain the culture and human capital required to make such a thing (sort of) work. But because they’ve drunk the cultural Marxist, blank slatist kool-aid, they think that ten million Mexicans can, once subjected to the magic of US public institutions, be transformed into typical US citizens in short order. Likewise with Muslims in Europe. Reality keeps clubbing them on the head, but so far they haven’t woken up.

  20. 76

    Hank Rockwell Jr

    Did anyone, besides myself, watch the last GOP debate last night? It’s over. Time to “pop smoke and haul ass”. My money is on Romney, the ONLY candidate that can knock Obama’s dick in the dirt. Any takers?

  21. 77


    Watched some of it. Was pleased overall, Santorum had to take some of the hits that he’s had coming but had so far managed to dodge. Your money is on Romney to do what, again? Win the Republican nomination? Or beat Obama? I think few people here would disagree that he’s the odds-on favorite to win the Republican nomination – I’ve admitted as much myself previously. Doesn’t mean we have to like it or stop working to make it less likely. As for the second part, I would also agree that he is the most likely to beat Obama – but to my mind that means something like a 30% chance versus 15% or less for any of the others, not that he’s actually favored to win.

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