Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), a libertarian-leaning Republican who ran for president in 2008, was the top vote-getter Saturday in the Conservative Political Action Conference’s (CPAC) straw poll, capturing the support of 31 percent of those who participated in the contest. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt (Mittens) Romney finished second with 22 percent of the vote, while former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin garnered 7 percent of the vote. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty finished fourth, with only 6 percent of the vote. The results of the straw poll were greeted with boos from the crowd in attendance, and it’s worth noting 53 percent of those who participated in the contest said they wished the GOP had a better field of candidates, while 46 percent said they were satisfied with those now seen as possible presidential candidates.
Obviously the results of the CPAC straw poll are far from scientific, given the fact that Mitt Romney has won the poll the last three years, but it strikes me as more than a little coincidental that the libertarian-leaning candidate won the poll, given the fact that his ideology may be more in line with many of the folks in the “Tea Party” movement than any of the other Republican presidential candidates.