Straw Poll

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

We’ve got a shake up in the power rankings this week. With all the polls that have come out in the last week showing Rick Perry really on the way up and Mitt Romney falling back, it doesn’t make much sense keep Romney at the top of the pack. There are different scenarios being talked about now due to the GOP primary calendar still not entirely into place. With that said, a new AP shows that more Republicans are satisfied with the field of candidates and it’s becoming clearer that should Sarah Palin run and win the nomination, that it would be nothing short of a disaster for the GOP.

Rick Perry (up): I hinted last week that it was only a matter of time before Perry overtook Romney in our weekly update. In addition to the Rasmussen poll released nearly two weeks ago showing Perry with a double-digit lead in the race for the GOP nomination, Gallup and Public Policy Polling have released numbers showing similar results. Perry is the frontrunner at this point. If he keeps this momentum and wins Iowa and South Carolina early next year, Perry will be the likely nominee.

Podcast: Discussion About CPAC 2010 Guests: Michael Powell, Stephen Gordon

This week, Jason and Brett talk with United Liberty contributor Michael Powell and political consultant Stephen Gordon.

Their discussion centered around CPAC 2010, touching on the GOProud controversy, Ryan Sorba’s commentary, Bob Barr’s panel, torture, and a dalliance into a discussion on protectionism, free markets, and American jobs.

To download the podcast, right-click here and choose “Save Link As…” The introduction music is once again “Silence is Violence” by the always lovely Aimee Allen.

Also, you can subscribe to the RSS of JUST our podcasts here, or you can find our podcasts on iTunes here.


Today in Liberty: Terry McAuliffe and Virginia Democrats dealt a big blow, Bergdahl doesn’t want doctors to call him “sergeant”

“No branch of government should ever be able to combine the power of the sword with the power of the purse.” — George Mason

— Terry McAuliffe, Virginia Democrats dealt a big blow: State Sen. Phillip Puckett (D-Russell) gave Republicans control of the upper chamber and the upper hand in an ongoing budget battle with Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Sunday night by resigning his seat in the legislature. “Puckett’s stunning resignation throws Democratic budget strategy into chaos and opens the way for Republicans to seize control of the chamber and reorganize its committees with GOP majorities,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. “The resignation also may clear the way for the Senate to confirm Puckett’s daughter for a full six-year term as a juvenile court judge in Southwest Virginia.” McAuliffe, who was elected last year, has made Medicaid expansion the centerpiece of his agenda, but Republicans in the legislature have pushed back. The Senate, controlled by Democrats until now, had blocked the budget passed by the House of Delegates because it lacked Medicaid expansion. The stalemate could lead to a government shutdown at the beginning of July. Puckett’s resignation could allow the Senate to pass a budget that excludes Medicaid expansion, which would make McAuliffe responsible for a shutdown if he vetoes it. Republicans, by the way, have a good shot of keeping Puckett’s seat. The Virginian-Pilot notes that his state Senate district has “pulled the lever for GOP candidates by roughly 2-to-1 margins in the past two statewide election.”

Today in Liberty: NSA collecting photos for facial recognition, Senate GOP targets Obama EPA’s anti-coal regulations

“We all know from our own experience that a hallmark of bureaucracy is the waiting list. Waiting lists at the post office and the DMV are merely annoying and inconvenient. Waiting lists at our doctor’s offices and hospitals can be fatal.” — Congressman Tom McClintock

Today in Liberty: Lois Lerner to appear before committee, Alan Grayson accused of domestic battery

“In government, the scum rises to the top.” — F.A. Hayek

— Disgraced IRS official to appear before Oversight committee: Lois Lerner, the ex-IRS official at the center of the agency’s targeting of conservative groups, will appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee this morning at 9:30. Though Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) said Lerner would testify, her lawyer has denied that claim. You can livestream the hearing here. Should be fun. excludes Rand Paul from its 2016 straw poll

The race for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 is already gaining a lot of interest from the media and the grassroots. Hardly a day goes by when a potential candidate isn’t making national news.

Several conservative-leaning websites have sought to capitalize on the talk of 2016 by hosting straw polls to give readers an opportunity to express their early feelings about the perspective candidates; among them is is a good source to get the pulse of the conservative movement. They boast several popular conservative columists, coverage of stories that the mainstream media has overlooked, and their straw poll is well known.

They’ve listed many of the usual suspects on the 2016 version of the straw poll — including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). Even former Rep. Allen West (R-FL) is listed. But as you can see from the screenshot below, there is no mention of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). 2016 Straw Poll

The reason for this is most likely because of Ron Paul. His supporters dominated online straw polls in 2008 and 2012 even though he had no real shot at the Republican nomination. does allow users to write-in a candidate, an option that 22% of the more than 109,000 respondents have chosen.

Bill Kristol’s State of Denial about the Conservative Movement

Bill Kristol

During an appearance yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and a prominent neo-conservative, knocked Sen. Rand Paul, who led a 13-hour filibuster over the nomination of John Brennan to the CIA.

Kristol, who endorsed raising taxes on higher-income earners during the “fiscal cliff” because of defense spending cuts, told Chris Wallace that the reason the Republican Party has been so successful is “because it has been the party of strong national security.”

“[Y]ou can say they are moss-covered, but some of us are proud to have come to Washington to work in a very minor role for Ronald Reagan, and some of us are proud to have supported the Bush administration after 9/11, and fighting our enemies,” Kristol continued. “And the problem with the Obama administration is not that it is too assertive in the war on terror. The problem with the Obama administration is that we are retreating all around the world, and unfortunately, emboldening our enemies.”

After the filibuster, Kristol aligned himself with Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, calling Sen. Paul the “spokesman for the Code Pink faction of the Republican party,” a reference to the anti-war group’s praise of the filibuster.

Kristol further added, “So if Rand Paul wants to run to the left of the Obama administration, he’s free to try that in the Republican primary, and maybe there is more support for that than I think, but I’m pretty doubtful that there really is.”

Rand Paul Wins CPAC Presidential Straw Poll

Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who gave one of the most anticipated speeches at CPAC, has won a plurality of the gathering’s annual presidential straw poll, finishing just ahead of his colleague, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

CPAC Presidential Straw Poll Results

According to CPAC, 52% of those who participated in the straw poll were between the age of 18 to 25, which highlights the growth of the youth participation. One would surmise that the liberty movement had a lot to do with this. Also, the poll found that 68% prefer targeted spending cuts to across-the-board cuts and an “overwhelming majority” oppose use of drones for strikes or spying.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is giving the keynote speech at this moment, which will close out CPAC for 2013. You can view the full results of the straw poll, including the survey questions asked of attendees, in the embed below. The takeaway is that there is a shift coming and it’s undeniable.

CPAC Straw Poll 2013

Ron Paul whoops all comers in California

Ron Paul whoops them all…in a California straw poll at least.  Paul took the poll with almost 45% of the vote, followed by Rick Perry (29.3%) and Mitt Romney (8.8%).  We can only assume that Romney’s hair was deemed ineligible.  Straw polls don’t meant to much in the grand scheme of things, but it has to be clear by now that Ron Paul’s campaign is picking up steam.  Even CNN acknowledge that Paul is making some serious moves this time around.

He has gained momentum in the race for the White House in recent weeks, according to the latest CNN/ORC International Poll. Among current GOP candidates, Paul placed third in the poll with 13%, following Romney in second place with 21% and Perry in first with 32%.

Honestly, this is a solid position to be in at this point.  Yes, Perry is the frontrunner, but it’s not exactly uncommon for the frontrunner to burn himself out by being stupid.  In primary politics, I’ve always believed that slow and steady won the race, and Paul is definitely doing that.

Of course, there are things Paul can get hit on, and probably will later if he keeps building momentum.  For example, there are the charges of antisemitism that stem from a piece that ran in his newsletter.  While Paul has denied writing them, the charge lingers because he printed them.  It’s not hard to spin though, since Paul is an advocate for free speech he simply chose not to censor the writer.

Ron Paul and the Ames Straw Poll

So who’s going to win the Ames Straw Poll on Saturday? That’s a good question. Candidates generally bus in supporters to cast ballots, which is why Mitt Romney not winning there in 2007 was such a big deal, especially since he dropped over $1 million on the state.

Gov. Terry Branstad predicts that whoever wins on Saturday will go on to win the Iowa caucuses in February. That’s not always the rule, but it certainly does show that a candidate can be a formidable opponent. With a few of the candidates (Romney and Jon Huntsman, and Pawlenty has pulled his ads) not competiting there, it has paved the way for Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul to gain momentum.

The National Review has already labeled Ron Paul as the candidate to beat, but Philip Klein predicts that he’ll win on Saturday:

Michael Barone has a persuasive piece on why Rep. Michele Bachmann’s adept political touch in Iowa makes her the front-runner to win the Ames Straw Poll. But I’ve been assuming that Rep. Ron Paul’s rabid fan base, which has propelled him into first in many straw polls this year, will put him over the top on Saturday.

Chris Cillizza has argued that Paul’s success in straw polls is due to the fact that they usually have very small turnout, whereas Ames is quite large by straw poll standards. He notes that in 2007, Paul finished fifth, with 1,305 votes in Ames.

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.