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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Politico on the FRC Straw Poll


Romney wins online, Huckabee wins room

By: Mike Allen
Oct 20, 2007 06:30 PM EST
Composite image by
The Arkansan was the overwhelming favorite of those casting “Values Voter Straw Poll” ballots in person.

Mitt Romney was announced from the podium Saturday afternoon as the winner of the Family Research Council’s "Values Voter Straw Poll" of Christian conservatives, but it turns out that Huck-mentum was in the air.

The 5,775-vote total included thousands of people who had voted online, and might have become eligible by paying as little as $1 to join FRC Action, the legislative action arm of the Family Research Council.

Although the audience of evangelicals at the Washington Hilton was not told about the alternate count, the crowd favorite by a mile among the 952 attendees who voted in person was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. He took 51 percent of the in-person votes, compared to just 10 percent for the former Massachusetts governor.

Organizers said they wound up with more than 2,200 attendees, plus more than 400 journalists. Further complicating the voting totals, about 600 attendees voted online, so making it tougher to generalize about the discrepancies, organizers said.

The scrambled results obscured a clear message: To the degree that the group represents evangelical voters, they remain flummoxed about where to put their prestige and muscle in the ’08 race.

Huckabee, who got whistles and standing ovations when he spoke to the crowd Saturday morning, took a clear shot at Romney when he said: “It’s important that a person doesn’t have more positions on issues than Elvis had waist sizes.”

FRC President Tony Perkins told reporters after the results were announced: “I think Governor Huckabee gets the biggest bounce of this.… I know a lot of people are critical of Governor Romney … but Governor Huckabee worked very aggressively online to get votes as well.”

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani fared poorly in both polls. But Perkins said Giuliani “was a winner by coming” to give a well-received Saturday morning speech in which he said the social conservatives “have absolutely nothing to fear from me.”

Perkins said Giuliani may have even taken some of the air out of a push among some social conservatives to support a third-party candidate if Giuliani becomes the nominee. Perkins still said he would not vote for Giuliani, because of his pro-choice stand on abortion.

Romney’s campaign had recognized the voting loophole ahead of time and sent a mass e-mail Thursday alerting social conservatives that the FRC was “allowing people to vote whether or not they attend the conference.”

The e-mail continued:

“Let me tell you how simple this is! Just go to and click on the large banner 'Participate in the 2008 American Values Straw Poll.' "

This led one rival to suggest the headline, “Romney Win$ Straw Poll.”

And here are the results:

Here are the total results:
Mitt Romney – 1,595 votes – 27.62%
Mike Huckabee – 1,565 votes – 27.15%
Ron Paul – 865 votes – 14.98%
Fred Thompson – 564 votes – 9.77%
Undecided – 329 votes – 5.70%
Sam Brownback – 297 votes – 5.14%
Duncan Hunter – 140 votes – 2.42%
Tom Tancredo – 133 votes – 2.30%
Rudy Giuliani – 107 votes 1.85%
John McCain – 81 votes – 1.40%

And here are the in-person results:

Mike Huckabee – 488 votes – 51.26%
Mitt Romney – 99 votes – 10.40%
Fred Thompson – 77 votes – 8.09%
Tom Tancredo – 65 votes – 6.83%
Rudy Giuliani – 60 votes – 6.30%
Duncan Hunter – 54 votes – 5.67%
John McCain – 30 votes – 3.15%
Sam Brownback – 26 votes – 2.73%
Ron Paul – 25 votes – 2.63%
Undecided – 11 votes – 1.16%