3,408 CPAC attendees participated in this year’s straw poll, the poll’s second highest number of participants, and they picked Mitt Romney as their man.
With a pool of voters that said at 63% that slashing big government was a main concern for 2012, a 97% disapproval rating for President Obama, and even a 28% disapproval rate the job Republicans in Congress are doing, voters picked Romney over Santorum by only 7 percentage points.
- Romney 38%
- Santorum 31%
- Newt 15%
- Paul 12%
Paul dominated the CPAC polling over the last two years, but this year he placed a distant fourth place. Paul did not attend CPAC this year and his followers were absent as well. Unless a few of them were out protesting with the Occupiers, of course.
The CPAC poll has no official standing Party-wise, to be sure, but as ACU Chairman Al Cardenas notes it is a good barometer of a nice large slice of the conservative movement.
This result does show the surging Santorum candidacy, though. It is clear that Rick Santorum has at last gotten his chance to be the non-Romney candidate. I think if CPAC were to have been held three or four months ago, Rick would not have achieved this close finish with Romney here at this conservative gathering.
I must say, I had imagined that Mitt might lose to Santorum considering his surging poll numbers out and about in the rest of the country outside CPAC, but I also must say that Mitt’s speech was competent and free of any unforced errors, if you will.
So, there you have it. Mitt barely edges out Rick Santorum as king of CPAC.