Main | Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) Wins Values Voters Summit Presidential Straw Poll

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) has won the Family Research Council's presidential straw poll at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, DC. Yesterday Pence told convention attendees that God will smite the United States if the GOP doesn't win control of Congress in November.
Pence, chair of the House Republican conference, received 24% of the vote, edging the winner of the 2009 straw poll, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who received 22%. Each addressed the gathering on Friday, as did third-place finisher Mitt Romney, who won 13% of the vote. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who spoke Saturday, received 10%. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who did not attend, finished a distant fifth with 7%. Of the nearly 2,000 people who registered for the conference, 723 voted in the straw poll.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, whose group organized the event, said the results were "descriptive of the type of candidate value voters would be looking for." "We're a long ways from the election," he said. But Pence "represents the qualities and the character that many voters in America are looking for." Perkins attributed Palin's underwhelming performance to the fact that she did not speak to the group in person. But he also said it could show that voters see her more as a "cheerleader who rallies conservatives together" than as a potential elected leader. "She is a great spokesman," he said. "She says what a lot of people think. But a lot of people sometimes realize we shouldn't say everything we think." Palin did, however, place just behind Pence in a second poll for vice presidential preference. Perkins called a potential Pence-Palin pairing a "dream ticket."
Attendees were also asked to rank which social issues most drove their interest in a candidate. Abortion ranked at #1. Gay-related issues did not appear in the reported top five.

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