Mitt Romney Wins Southern Republican Straw Poll by One Vote

Mitt Romney couldn't make it to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference this year, but with the help of a "grass roots" group of supporters led by '08 Romney presidential campaign advisers (one of whom is Mrs. Romney's ghostwriter), he scraped by second-place Ron Paul to win the presidential straw poll by one vote, 439-438. Each walked away with roughly 24 percent of the attendees who bothered to vote.

Supporters of both candidates papered the conference with free tickets for friendly votes. Neither group will say where the money came from.

Sarah Palin came in third, with 18 percent (330), trailed by Newt Gingrich, also at 18 percent (321). The second choice numbers were reversed, with Gingrich leading the pack, followed by Palin. Romney came in third, followed by Mike Huckabee. Paul, in a statistical tie with national political powerhouse Gary Johnson (the former Governor of New Mexico from 1994-2002, is who), came in dead last.

The SRLC straw poll is not particularly predictive. Bill Frist won in '06, trailed by Romney.

The numbers:

Initial Choice (If the primary election for president were held today, for whom would you vote?) Newt Gingrich 18% (321) Mike Huckabee 4% (80) Gary Johnson 1% (3) Sarah Palin 18% (330) Ron Paul 24% (438) Tim Pawlenty 3% (54) Mike Pence 3% (58) Mitt Romney 24% (439) Rick Santorum 2% (41)

Second Choice (Who would be your second choice in the Republican Primary Election for president?) Newt Gingrich 20% (339) Mike Huckabee 11% (178) Gary Johnson 6% (104) Sarah Palin 20% (332) Ron Paul 6% (98) Tim Pawlenty 7% (114) Mike Pence 8% (141) Mitt Romney 14% (242) Rick Santorum 7% (125)


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