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Romney and Giuliani are favorite picks in CPAC straw poll

This is the result of the straw poll at this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference (a.k.a. Ann Says Homophobia is Cool! conference):

The attendees were asked “Who would be your first choice to be the Republican nominee for president?” This is what tallied up:

Mitt Romney 21%
Rudy Giuliani 17%
Sam Brownback 15%
Newt Gingrich 14%
John McCain 12%
Others were below 5%.

Why did Multiple Choice Mitt win? The New York Sun reports that Romney had a lot of paid help on the convention floor.

Mr. Romney ran an intensive ground operation at CPAC, flooding the convention with college-aged campaign workers – paying many of their registration fees and even busing some of them in and paying for their hotel rooms, according to a report in The New York Times – wearing blue Romney shirts, carrying posters for their candidate, and voting in the straw poll.

With all that, a better question might be did Mitt Romney win? Folks were also asked about their second choice preference. Look at these numbers:

Newt Gingrich 16%
Rudy Giuliani 16%
Mitt Romney 9%
Sam Brownback 8%
John McCain 8%
Huckabee 6%
Tancredo 5%
Hunter 5%

Take a look at what happens when you add the first and second choice ballots together. The more comprehensive and telling results you aren’t going to see in most of today’s headlines, but they can be found at the American Conservative Union‘s web site, in a Powerpoint document.

The most pro-gay rights of the GOP lot, Rudy Giuliani wins the overall nod in a group of conservatives.

The favorites of The Base and the religious zealots, Baptist minister and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, fear of the brown menace proponents Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter are all in single digits. Only forced birth advocate Sam Brownback  makes a decent showing.

More after the jump.It’s nice to see what’s going on in the minds of some of the CPACers, though, where Ann Coulter, who endorsed Mitt, received cheers for calling John Edwards a faggot. We all know that the conservative movement is the haven for The Base, the folks who think that tossing “faggot” out there as a political jab is such a classy move, because it indicates 1) there’s something wrong with being gay; 2) it’s still in vogue in the conservative movement to ignore homophobia in its ranks. Jon Swift had this interesting observation (H/t, skippy):

Michelle Malkin, who is particularly vigilant against incivility in public discourse, also weighed in. “A smattering of laughter,” Michelle Malkin said, describing the reaction. “Not from this corner. Crickets chirping.” On the tape of Coulter’s remarks (available here in full), it’s a bit difficult to hear the crickets chirping over all the laughter and cheering, but it’s possible the microphones just weren’t sensitive enough to pick them up.

Juxtapose that against the results from the combined poll (1,705 participated in it) and it suggests much more at work — and the religious fringe, homo-hating Coultergeist crowd isn’t going to like it.

Rudy having the kind of fun that unhinges The Base.

Many of these conservatives who cast their ballot at this meeting (clearly not the ones not egging Coulter on) would be willing to vote for gay-is-ok Giuliani and win the White House, than go with a social conservative who will most certainly lose, no matter what the Freepers or Daddy D say.

The fact that The Base is still wary of Romney — social conservatives don’t trust him because of his flip-flopping, gay-affirming past (and even object to his Mormon faith), has got to make Daddy D, Falwell, Gary Bauer, Don Wildmon and the rest of the professional “Christian” set nervous at the very least. Dobson doesn’t like McCain either.

The Dominionists are probably turning red with anger and frustration at this point. A lot of phones are going to be ringing off the hook and lunches set up to “educate” the conservative movers and shakers about what they need to do to placate The Base. The GOP needs them to get out the vote in the general election, so there may be some entertaining fireworks ahead.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding