Huckabee Wins Values Voter Straw Poll

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was the first choice of participants in a straw poll held today at the Values Voter Summit sponsored by the lobbying arm of the Family Research Council. Huckabee, a Baptist preacher who finished second in total delegates in the GOP nomination contest last year, took 28 percent in the straw poll easily outpacing the other presumed contenders for the GOP nomination in 2012.

Second place was effectively a four-way tie between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who ran for president in 2008 finishing third; Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty; former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee; and Indiana Congressman Mike Pence. Each of these received between between 12.4 and 11.9 percent of the vote.

Rounding out the field were former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the favorite of 6.7 percent of straw poll voters; Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal at 4.7 percent; former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum with 2.5 percent; Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, with just 2.2 percent.

More from Congressional Quarterly:

Participant Chris Balkema, from Channahon, Ill., said religion was one reason why he voted for Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister.

"As the constitution says, the country is founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs, and so therefore any candidate who aligns himself with those beliefs and the fact that we believe in a creator that created us, I'm going to put my bets on that person," Balkema said.

"I like what Mike has stood for," David Zwale from Severna Park, M.D. said. "He's very principled, leader, he speaks very well, and he seems to be tied really closely to the fundamentals of my country."

In a well-attended speech to the group on Friday, Huckabee spoke about religion, President Obama's Administration, health care, and social and fiscal issues.

"I think he has his finger better on the pulse certainly of conservative voters," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

Huckabee may have his finger better on the pulse of conservative voters but he is wholly detached from the realities of urban and modern America. Mike Huckabee is unelectable and if he were to be the nominee of the GOP he would probably lose in a landslide and would fail to garner 40% of the vote. Of those presumed to be running Romney and Pawlenty would likely fare best. The rest of the GOP field is simply too out of touch with modern America to build a winning electoral coalition. That especially goes for Sarah Palin.

Update [2009-9-19 21:39:59 by Charles Lemos]: More color from Politico:

The biggest surprise in the results may have been in the four who were bunched up for second-place. That Romney, widely seen among party elites as the initial frontrunner for the 2012 nomination, only got one more vote than Pawlenty, a relative newcomer to the national stage, will bode well for the Minnesotan’s pre-primary campaign. And the fact that Pence, who is as or less well-known than Pawlenty, finished so strongly may encourage him to take another trip to Iowa, where he visited earlier this year. But the most notable finish may have been that of Palin, assumed to be the darling of social conservatives. Her fourth-place finish indicates that the sort of hyper-engaged voters who attend such Washington conferences as this may be hesitant to embrace such a polarizing candidate. It also may say something about the importance of, to paraphrase Woody Allen, simply showing up. “If you’re not present and you’re not communicating with people you’re not going to be in the forefront of their minds when they vote at the straw poll,” observed Perkins.

By all accounts, Tim Pawlenty did wow the attendees with his attacks on the policies of the Obama Administration. A perceived moderate within the GOP, it is clear that the Minnesota Governor has tacked right even threatening 'nullification' of any national healthcare reform.

Mitt Romney continues to have problems connecting with the rabid right and Sarah Palin did not attend. For Pence, these results should be encouraging but he remains a long shot and largely unknown outside his native Indiana.

Tags: 2012, GOP, Governor Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, newt gingrich, Sarah Palin, Values Voter Summit (all tags)



Re: Huckabee Wins Values Voter Straw Poll

Despite what Jerome said earlier today, Pawlenty is easily the most dangerous GOP candidate in 2012.  He's from the Midwest, which IMO is huge.  Obama could have a hard time against him, if unemployment remains high.  He is sufficiently "populist" to win over a lot of independents.

Romney has changed positions (and addresses) too many times to be a serious candidate.

by esconded 2009-09-19 06:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Huckabee Wins Values Voter Straw Poll

I think you misread Jerome's comment. His view is that Pawlenty is the most formidable GOP candidate.

I just to tend to doubt that Pawlenty can win the GOP nomination. Then again, if Palin-Gingrich-Huckabee divide the hard right constituency then Pawlenty might just win.

by Charles Lemos 2009-09-19 07:34PM | 0 recs
Republicans are not stupid

They want to win bad and will nominate whoever can do that for them.  

by Kent 2009-09-19 08:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Huckabee Wins Values Voter Straw Poll

Don't underestimate Huckabee, I'm thinking.  He won Iowa last time and schooled them on the 'Shucks' brand of Republican populism which has worked before.  I realise he's a complete flake but when has that stopped them?  At least he has a sense of humour and that's more than you can say for the rest of them collectively.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-09-19 08:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Huckabee Wins Values Voter Straw Poll

Interesting to note that Ron Paul has already achieved his typical high-water national average.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-09-19 08:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Huckabee Wins Values Voter Straw Poll

The GOP is back to basics, lowest common denominator, at least according to the Value Voters Summit. They selected their candidate, Mike Huckabee. I think for his running mate he should select Carrie Prejean. There are related posts at

by carlyt 2009-09-20 09:08AM | 0 recs


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