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Monday, March 2, 2009

CPAC 2009 Straw Poll Results

Let me preface my commentary by saying that I do not consider the people at CPAC to be representative of the Republican Party (despite their claim to the contrary). These are the people who, number one...can afford to go to Washington DC for either a day, or the duration; and number two...are activists within the party who have access to money. 

I would have loved to see the responses to the questions according to demographic data such as income and distance traveled to the event, and length of time they planning to stay at the event. 

With that being said, here are the basic results and my commentary based upon the response:

Out of 1,757 Registrants...

52% were students
36% were individuals
07% were associated with a co-sponsor
06% were co-sponsors

Slide #6
Do you approve or disapprove of the job that the Republicans in Congress are doing?

70% approve; 17% strongly and  53% somewhat
29% disapprove; 10% somewhat and 19% strongly

This question was worded badly. Someone could have approved of Republican cross-overs and answered in the approval column; or someone could have thought that Congress could have done more to oppose Obama and the Democrats and answered disapprove, so the response to this question can't really tell us anything useful.

Slide #7  
Thinking ahead to the 2012 Presidential election, who would you vote for as the next Republican nominee for President?


20% Mitt Romney
14% Bobby Jindal
13% Ron Paul
13% Sarah Palin
10% Newt Gingrich
09% Undecided
07% Mike Huckabee
04% Mark Sanford
03% Rudy Giuliani
01% Tim Pawlenty
01% Charlie Crist

The conclusion that I draw from this poll is that the results are split pretty well between what I consider conservative candidates, and this allows someone I do not consider a conservative to rise to the third slot. The fact that Bobby Jindal finished third despite his repeated assurances that he is not running is an indication of some dissatisfaction with the field, as is the 9% undecided number. 

Now, on to a pet peeve of mine, the hangers on. These people who finish below 10% should really do some soul searching, and ask themselves why they are allowing themselves to be considered. I would consider that these people need to work on their numbers, and if they can't rise above 10% by the 2011 CPAC, then they should make it clear that they are not seeking the nomination, especially if they are a conservative. For those who aren't what I consider conservative, I would encourage them to remain in consideration because it would allow the least wacky conservative to rise in the polls and consolidate support among the base of the party.

Slide #8  
Would you say that you are generally satisfied with the names that have been floated as potential Republican Presidential contenders for 2012 or do you wish the Republican Party had a better field of potential candidates?  

55% Generally satisfied with the field of potential candidates

44% Wish the GOP had a better field of potential candidates  


There is a large well of general dissatisfaction in the party. I think that this arises because most of the candidates have one or two issue areas in which they are perceived as strong, and other areas in which they are considered weak.Take Huckabee, for example, he wins the religious vote, but scares away the fiscal conservatives and the small govt conservatives. Ron Paul attracts several fringe issues, but has completely alienated the National Security types, the intelligent fiscal conservatives and the Traditional Values people.
 
Slide #9  
Which ONE of the following comes closest to your core beliefs and ideology?

74% My most important goal is to promote individual freedom by reducing the size and scope of government and it's intrusion into the lives of its citizens

15% My most important goal is to promote traditional values by promote traditional values by protecting traditional marriage and protecting the life of the unborn

10% My most important goal is to secure and guarantee American safety at home and abroad regardless of the cost or the size of government
 
This tells me what the core of the religious and national security conservatives look like.


10
Which of the following issues is MOST and SECOND MOST to you personally?




MOST and SECOND MOST
Combined
MOSTSECOND
Reducing the size of Federal Govt27%16%43%
Reducing Government Spending9%15%24%
The War on Terrorism12%11%23%
Lowering Taxes9%13%22%
Doing Away With Abortion10%5%15%
Illegal Immigration4%6%10%
Stimulating the Economy5%4%9%
Restoring Govt Honesty4%4%8%
Promoting Traditional Values4%4%8%
Protecting Gun Owner's Rights3%4%7%
Improving Education2%3%5%
The War in Iraq2%3%5%

This tells me that if the Republicans in Congress and the party can oppose Obama and the Democrats by focusing on their wanton spending, expansion of government and the reversal of the Bush tax cuts...they will have the support and encouragement of the base of the party.
 
Slide #11  
Which of President Obama’s and the Democrats in Congress policy initiatives do YOU fear MOST…

36% Expanding gov't with new spending programs
20% Nationalizing a government health care system
10% Restoring the Fairness Doctrine
09% Reversing the Bush tax cuts and raising taxes
08% Allowing federal funds to pay for abortions/clinics
(I've only listed the top four responses to this question) 

Again, we need to hit Obama and the Democrats on their expansion of government and the attendant reduction in Liberty that comes from a growing government that will seek to intrude into every facet of our lives.

Slide #12  
Who is your favorite conservative media personality on either TV or radio?  

26% Rush Limbaugh
17% Glenn Beck
11% Sean Hannity
10% Bill O'Reilly
07% Ann Coulter
(I've limited the results to the top five responses)

This does my heart good, although the O'Reilly number concerns me because he is a populist, not a conservative and should never get double digits at a "conservative" conference.
 
Slide #13  
AGE OF POLL PARTICIPANTS

64% 25 and under
16% 26 to 40
12% 41 to 55
12% 55 and over
 

For a complete rundown on the straw poll, download the Power Point Slide Show.


I think that if the Republican party is in good hands if this group is representative of the activist base of the party, and not just those with the means to attend the event. How many of these people actually attend their local precinct meetings? How many of them are active in local politics? How many of them are only active on the federal level? 

Most of the bloggers who go to CPAC (past and present) have never become involved in politics at the precinct and county level in a constructive way, and I'll bet you they don't blog on the local level. The same can be said about the recent interest in social networking by conservatives. They focus almost exclusively on federal level politics, or general state level politics. 

Okay, rant over. Whaddya think?



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