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Romney Wins 2009 CPAC Straw Poll... Preemptively Loses 2012?

Tony Romm

Posted: Mar 1st 2009 8:52AM

Filed under: US Elections, Politics, American University

WASHINGTON D.C. -- After conceding at the annual gathering only a year earlier, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney serendipitously eked out a symbolic victory in the Conservative Political Action Convention's (CPAC) presidential straw poll, held here on Saturday.

According to Politico, Romney, who received only 20 percent of the CPAC vote, was closely trailed by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (14 percent), Texas Rep. Ron Paul (13 percent), Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (13 percent), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (10 percent) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (7 percent). Also on the ballot were South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Despite the wide array of choices, however, nine percent of CPAC attendants said they were undecided.

Yet, this is hardly Romney's first CPAC straw poll win -- in fact, in 2007 and 2008, the former Massachusetts governor trounced his competition, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who the party inevitably nominated.

Luckily for Romney, he is not the only GOP candidate to have lost a general election despite an impressive CPAC poll victory. Rather, he conforms to a historic norm, one whereby the winner of the conference's symbolic poll rarely reaches the general election:

Poll year CPAC poll winner
Winner's political future
2008 | 2007
Mitt Romney Ironically conceded at CPAC in 2008
2006 | 2005 Sen. George Allen, R-Va. Defeated by Dem. challenger Jim Webb in 2006 Virginia Senate race
2004-2001 GOP held White House
2000 George W. Bush Won presidency
1999 Former Undersecretary of Education Gary Bauer Dropped out after New Hampshire primary
1998 Steve Forbes Won only two delegates in 1996, dropped out after taking 3rd in Delaware in 2000
1995 Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Tx Received less than 1 percent of the 1996 presidential primary vote; joined 2008 McCain campaign

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