Today, in Washington, D.C., the Voter Values straw poll was taken and Rep. Ron Paul easily won the poll with 37% of the vote. Herman Cain finished in second with 23%, and Rick Santorum came in third with 16%. The rest of the field followed distantly (Rick Perry 8%, Michele Bachmann 8%, Mitt Romney 4%, Newt Gingrich 3%, and John Huntsman 0%).
But, of course, this straw poll does not count for much and the results can essentially be ignored. Certain straw polls – including the California GOP straw poll, the CPAC straw poll, and today’s Voter Values straw poll – pale in comparison to the more significant ones that provide a real picture of how the GOP election season is going.
Why those specific polls are easily discounted is quite simple. Ron Paul won them.
Fox News reported Paul’s victory today with this clarification: “Despite his success here, Paul repeatedly scores in the single digits in national polls, including the latest Fox News poll that has him at 6 percent.”
Politico’s reaction was similar to that of Fox News: “For summit participants who didn’t come in enamored of Paul, the results prompted a bit of eye-rolling. ‘Those results probably aren’t accurate,’ one voter joked after Paul’s victory was announced. ‘Cain wowed everybody. He’s good.’”
CBS News went even further, entitling their story “Values Voter straw poll organizers suggest a fix in Ron Paul’s win.” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (host of the straw poll), also added: “Let me just take you back four years to this event, when we had a straw poll. Mitt Romney won that straw poll. I think people are still in the process of deciding where they want to go.”
Fox News continued: “Perkins points out that more than 600 people, mostly Paul supporters, registered Saturday morning and left after Ron Paul’s speech.”
Perkins did not explain the mystery of why the Family Research Council would host such an apparently pointless event.
When Ron Paul won in California, Politico stressed – “It was not a prize that most campaigns were organizing for…” and NBC parroted the idea that it was unclear how much effort any of the other candidates put into California.
Paul also won the CPAC straw poll, with Fox News observing that “convention-goers booed when the results were announced” and sarcastically entitled the piece: “Ron Paul Wins Presidential Straw Poll at CPAC – Again.”
So the mainstream media outlets have downplayed Paul’s victory. But, what has been their practice in other straw polls?
The Ames, Iowa straw poll, won by Michele Bachmann, garnered slightly different responses. Politico, for example, began their Bachmann story with the words: “Riding a surge of support from social conservatives, Michele Bachmann claimed victory Saturday at the Ames GOP straw poll — a triumph that will cement her status as the Iowa frontrunner.” The story continues by pointing out that the straw poll was significant enough to cause Tim Palwenty to drop out.
“Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who had spent most of the past month and much of his war chest here in an attempt to win Ames, came in a distant third with 2,293 votes — a disappointing finish that spelled the end of his campaign. On Sunday, he dropped out of the race.”
The Washington Post referred to the Ames poll as “the first major test of the 2012 GOP campaign” and, like Politico, only mentioned Ron Paul once even though he came in second place at Ames by a mere 150 votes.
So, the Ames straw poll determined “frontrunner” status, was significant enough to cause one candidate to drop out, and was the first major test of the campaign…unless you come within 1% of winning.
When Herman Cain won the Florida straw poll, Fox News stressed that “Previous straw polls have predicted the GOP nominee.”
Following Cain’s straw poll victories (Florida, TeaCon, and the National Federation of Republican Women), CNN, The Washington Post, Fox News, and many others have reported on the incredible rise of Herman Cain.
In other words, straw polls do matter…unless you are Ron Paul. If you are Ron Paul, it is just a sign that you cheated. And, by “cheating” is meant that too many supporters showed up wearing (“gasp”) t-shirts!
Or perhaps the problem was that Paul supporters showed up later than most and, apparently, that’s…um…not fair? Oh, wait, it was that Paul supporters did not listen to the other candidates talk about values.
The assumption here is that since Paul’s supporters did not show up earlier than Saturday and did not want to hear the other candidates, they don’t really count. But, this ignores another perfectly legitimate option: Paul’s supporters did not have to show up before Saturday because they were not checking the wind to find out who they were supposed to vote for and left early because they did not want to hear pandering.
The real issue seems clear, despite the fuzzy, ridiculous excuses the media continues to throw out. Ron Paul is a threat, a strong threat, to the mainstream media and the political establishment and they will do whatever they can to ignore that the American people are awakening out of a long slumber to see that their liberty has been taken…and they want it back.