Sunday, September 02, 2007

Finding Firm Results in Straw Polls

The Oracle usually does not have much to say about the results of early polls -- straw or otherwise -- in political races, as the weekly fluctuations tend not to mean as much later as candidates and pundits try to make of them at the time. That is certainly true of straw polls taken well in advance of a race, since results are likely to say more about the amount of effort a candidate put into wooing delegates than about his or her ultimate viability. However, a few conclusions can be drawn from yesterday's Texas Republican straw poll by looking at the results in combination with other related factors.

For those who have not followed the lead up to this event. None of the major declared candidates (Giuliani, Romney, McCain) participated. Mike Huckabee originally said he would attend, but subsequently cancelled after the results of the Iowa straw poll gave him the appearance of viability. Fred Thompson also was a no-show. Thus, the vote totals of the party leaders were depressed due to their non-participation, a fact which skewed the ultimate results in favor of those who will not have any chance of winning next year.

Nonetheless, here are a few conclusions that one can take to the bank:

  1. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) worked hard and won the straw poll with 41% of the delegate votes. While his team will claim that this moves him into the pack of frontrunners, it really doesn't mean much more in the long-term than Mr. Huckabee's win in Iowa. Neither will be a serious candidate at the start of 2008.
  2. For anyone who only gets their political news from the internet and imagines that all of the noise generated by Rep. Ron Paul's rabid supporters indicates some sort of groundswell of support, it is time to get over it. Dr. Paul finished third in the race in his home state, in spite of the fact that he made an effort to bus delegates in from all over the state. His supporters at the event, many of whom evidently just emerged from hiding behind trees (those would be Birch trees), immediately declared a conspiracy to suppress the votes. One declared the results "totally wrong," adding that there were "10 times as many Ron Paul supporters here than anyone else had." Dr. Paul in reality garnered 16%.
  3. When a candidate who has not declared himself for the race and doesn't participate in the event still finishes second, that is a pretty strong showing. Fred Thompson finished with 20.5 % of the vote without putting any effort into the meeting. Other no-shows trailed badly: Huckabee and Giuliani had about 6%; Romney less than 5%; McCain less than 1%. The other interesting factor about Mr. Thompson is that he seems to be the second choice of nearly everyone initially supporting someone else. That should serve Mr. Thompson well as other candidates drop from the race down the road.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just maybe if the 200+ Ron Paul Supporters where able to vote ...?

Tyranny at the Texas Straw Poll Ron Paul - Conspiracy? What Conspiracy?

11:41 AM  

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