Ron Paul won the Values Voter Summit presidential straw poll of
Republican hopefuls by a relative whopping 37 percent of the vote.
His combination of organized supporters and a strong biblical theme
At this weekend's Values Voter Summit, sponsored by the Family
Research Council, the American Family Association, Jerry Falwell's
Liberty University, and other like-minded organizations, you'd
expect a strong social conservative - say, Michele Bachmann or Rick
Santorum - to do well in a mock election among Republican
But, no, it was libertarian Ron Paul who won the day, taking a
relative whopping 37 percent of the vote - way ahead of Bachmann (8
percent) and Santorum (16 percent), even besting current
conservative favorite Herman Cain (23 percent).
Ron Paul? The man who says the federal government has no
authority to regulate recreational drugs, prostitution, and same-
sex marriage? Who says he would not have ordered the killing of al
Qaeda's Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki?
This kind of thing has happened before at special interest
gatherings. For two years in a row now, Paul has won the
Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll under similar
There's no doubt that Paul supporters are -"stuffing the ballot
box" isn't the right phrase - showing up at such gatherings in a way
to give their man a good showing. Nothing wrong with that.
Tony Perkins, who heads the Family Research Council, points out
that some 600 people registered Saturday morning (not for the full
weekend, and many of them students who paid the lowest entry fee)
voted for Paul, then left after he spoke.
Of the 3,400 people who attended, 1,983 voted. "You do the math,"
Perkins told reporters.
Still, although Paul may carry a strong libertarian message with
tea party crossovers, he does not do particularly well in state and
national polls asking who the GOP should pick as their champion to
challenge Barack Obama.
In the most recent Gallup poll, taken in mid-September, he came
in third (with 13 percent) behind Mitt Romney (24 percent) and Rick
Perry (31 percent). In a more recent Washington Post-ABC News poll,
Paul gets 11 percent among the general population and 9 percent
among registered voters (figures that have held steady for months).
Surprisingly, given his enthusiastic fan base, Paul scores pretty
low on Gallup's "positive intensity score" as well. …