CPAC: Ron Paul wins CPAC straw poll - ends Romney's CPAC domination

CPAC straw poll victory. Ron Paul ended Mitt Romney's three year streak of winning the CPAC straw poll Saturday.

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    Texas Congressman Ron Paul won the CPAC straw poll on Saturday with 31 percent of the vote. Mitt Romney came in second with 22 percent and Sarah Palin finished third with a distant seven percent of the vote. The CPAC straw poll comes at the end of the three day conference.
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And the winner of the 2010 CPAC straw poll is... Ron Paul? Yep. The libertarian-leading congressman from Texas bested all-comers today with an impressive victory at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, DC.

Attendees of CPAC, or as Chris Matthews once called it a "Star Trek convention," cast their ballots on the third and final day of the conference and Paul was the clear winner with 31 percent of the vote.

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Mitt Romney was unable to keep a "Vulcan grip" on his three-year reign as CPAC's top vote getter netting 22 percent of the ballots for a solid second place finish. Perhaps rap-loving Republicans were sending a message to Romney that they disapproved of his problem solving skills on that airplane the other night.

Then again, as Talking Points Memo blogger Evan McMorris-Santoro points outs, there are no rap-loving Republicans.

Palin wins the bronze

Sarah Palin, who enjoys a new kinship with Joy Behar, grabbed the CPAC bronze medal with seven percent. Was Palin crushed by the third place finish? She seemed more concerned with another race.

"Family is getting ready for Todd's IronDog race tomorrow," Palin tweeted. "I'm watching @GlennBeck on TV now giving #CPAC speech, while racers are in garage."

Quickly discounted

Despite Paul's significant victory, boos rang out from the convention hall when the poll results were announced. And many in the blogosphere quickly discounted the results.

"We can thank Ron Paul for showing just how worthless straw polls are," wrote RedState blogger Erick Erickson.

"There’s never been a poll Ron Paul couldn’t win, unless you count a presidential primary race," adds the guys over at Little Green Footballs.

Not so fast

Hang on, writes the National Review's Robert Costa. Paul knew what he was doing.

There may have been some boos, but Paul was by far one of the more popular speakers at CPAC this year," Costa writes.

"While Paul mingled with his acolytes, the big guns — Pawlenty, Romney — were often shrouded by aides or mingling backstage," he adds. "Believe me: CPAC folks noticed. And now, thanks to the straw poll, for a moment, Paul’s opening line from his address is true: His 'revolution is alive and well,' at least this weekend."

Disclaimer: This doesn't count

In case you thought that today's event meant that Paul had actually won the presidency, FOX News offered this helpful reminder: "The straw poll is not binding."

And Ben Smith over at Politico notes that the attendees of the conference don't really sync up with the rest of the country.

"Not only did Obama's approval rating stand at 2%, but Congressional Republicans stand at a full 62% approval rating," he writes.

That makes you wonder how those two percent got in there.

World record

By the way, the nearly 2,400 people who voted represents an all-time high for the conference. Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio said the number is about 40% higher than last year.

Here's the final tally.

Ron Paul 31%
Mitt Romney 22%
Sarah Palin 7%
Tim Pawlenty 6%
Mike Pence 5%
Newt Gingrich 4%
Mike Huckabee 4%
Mitch Daniels 2%
John Thune 2%
Rick Santorum 2%
Haley Barbour 1%

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