The CPAC Straw Poll

According to reports yesterday, Ron Paul won CPAC’s straw poll with 30 percent of the 3,742 participants (“fewer than half of the total registered to attend” - CSM). Romney came in second with 23 percent. Now, I think this demonstrates the split within movement conservatism, but the question really is: does it matter who wins this straw poll (or any other)? CNN asked this question on Friday. The Christian Science Monitor asks the same question today. Before the 2008 Republican primary elections, Ron Paul had the most straw poll victories with 25 (source). How many states did Paul win in the Republican primary? None (and he only received 4.8% of the vote in Texas). What was his delegate total? 35 (1.6%). Straw polls are an exercise for activists, and it gives reporters something to talk about, but still a full year away from the Republican primary, most people who will be voting in the primary are not fully engaged in the process, so the results of straw polls has no impact on them (even the participants at CPAC were not fully engaged). Campaigns are about more than winning over activists; unfortunately, most Paul supporters, as well as activists for other candidates, don’t seem to understand that.