Ron Paul's commanding victory in the CPAC straw poll, with more than 30% of the overall vote, relfects the energetic response he received at this year's conference and the ascendancy of libertarian views among CPAC attendees. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney came in second with 23% of the total vote and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tied for a distant third with 6%.
The vote was taken using two methods -- a straight up poll, and then a first-second choice ballot for the next Republican nominee for president and one where people are asked to fill in their first and second choice. The numbers listed here are for the first choice.
The poll is taken on a volunteer basis with 3,742 participating in the event this year, twice as many as participated in the 2007 poll. The vote is open starting Thursday morning and lasting through Saturday afternoon. The poll is hand counted by staff of CPAC.
Paul drew a maximum-capacity crowd for hi speech, consisting mostly of twenty-somethings who cheered on his talk about Egypt and the Fed. Paul is also well know for his stance on the number one issue claimed by the straw poll participants, reducing the size of the federal government. Paul’s supporters enthusiastically show up for straw polls and this year was no different. Young Americans for Liberty, a student group affiliated with Ron Paul, recruited more than 700 students to attend CPAC 2011.
This is the second year in a row that Paul has won the CPAC straw poll, and the second year in a row that Paul beaten out the more mainstream Republican Mitt Romney -- who had won three straight CPAC straw polls before last year. Ron Paul was a presidential candidate in 2008, dropping out before the Republican nominee was chosen, it is widely believed that he will run again in 2012, although he has not made anything official yet.