Libertarian Ron Paul beats Mitt Romney in CPAC straw poll
Ron Paul, Texas congressman and 2008 presidential candidate known for his Libertarian views, won this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) annual straw poll taking 31 percent of the vote and beating out former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
Romney who was also a 2008 presidential candidate won the last three CPAC straw polls, but this year came in second with 22 percent of the vote.
Sarah Palin, who didn't attend the conference, received 7 percent of the vote, followed by Tim Pawlenty, the Minnesota governor, and Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana.
The CPAC straw poll results were announced just before Fox News host Glen Beck delivered the keynote address.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, 2008 presidential candidate and a favorite among Christian conservatives, who received 4 percent in the poll, didn't attend this year's annual CPAC event telling FOX News, "CPAC has become increasingly more libertarian and less Republican over the last years - one of the reasons I didn't go this year." Huckabee went on to say, "The tea parties now are having their own events all over the country and a lot more truly grass-roots people are getting involved because of the tea parties."
Asked about the results Monday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Paul said, “it is significant, and it does get me excited.”
Paul said he was “a bit surprised” by his straw poll win but said it is “a good indication that maybe the sentiments are changing.”
The 2008 insurgent GOP presidential candidate attributed his victory to his younger supporters for backing his fiscal and foreign policy views and for showing up to vote in the straw poll.
“The young people are very interested in this. They turned out,” Paul said. “They generally turn out at CPAC meetings, but I think there’s definitely been a shift in attitude.”
“It’s not the conventional wisdom of the old Republican Party conservatism,” he said of the sentiment among his supporters. “I think something new is coming along.”
Paul said that he is “undecided” on another run for president in 2012, but warned GOP leaders to pay more attention to those in the party who share his views.
“The Republican Party and other leaders in this country need to wake up and find out exactly why the young people are sick and tired of what is being dumped on them politically and economically,” he said.
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