Mitt Romney won the straw poll conducted at Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit with 28 percent of the 5,776 votes cast, just 30 votes ahead of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Rudy Giuliani got 2% – or 107 – of the votes cast. Fred Thompson finished fourth and John McCain actually finished behind Rudy Giuliani.
What to make of it?
Well, it isn’t very good news for Romney. He had lots of his people there, just as he had in previous Iowa straw polls. Even with that effort, he was barely able to defeat to Huckabee. Romney is going to have lots of trouble with Christian conservative voters – lots and lots.
The continued support for Huckabee suggests a measure of grassroots disenchantment with Christian conservative leaders who keep throwing their support behind other candidates because they believe they have a better chance of beating Hillary. If only Huckabee could raise some money he might become a viable candidate.
Giuliani’s camp can’t be happy with the results. Getting 107 out of 5,776 votes is a remarkably bad sign of his acceptance within the grassroots Christian conservative community. It is also an indication that his speech bombed. Though he got some applause and was apparently pleased with himself, his opening salvo telling the FRC audience that Christianity was all about “tolerance” and not mentioning Jesus was dunderheaded. A conservative crowd doesn’t want to hear about ‘tolerance.’ That is, to them, a code word for everything they hate – pro-gay, pro-choice. Bad, bad day for Rudy.
As for McCain and Thompson? Ugly, ugly, ugly.