Mitch Daniels Wins Republican Presidential Straw Poll

Bookmark and ShareEarly polls regarding who people think the Republican nominee for President in 2012 should be, are merely snapshots of only the moment at which they are taken and not necessarily reliably indicative of what their opinions will be in the future. And depending on how the question is asked and who makes up the audience that is polled, these “snapshots” are not even always accurate of current sentiments.

That said, one of the newest presidential straw polls of interest comes out of Washington state, where unlike the heavily polled states of Iowa and New Hampshire, Indiana’s Governor, Mitch Daniels is receiving a whopping 17% lead over his nearest opponent, Mitt Romney.

The straw poll was taken by the Washington State Republican Committee during their annual meeting, making it one that gauges the state’s Party organization and its local leaders and activists. Such support is often critical to a candidates success on Election Day.

  1. 31% Governor Mitch Daniels, Indiana
  2. 14% Former Governor Mitt Romney, Massachusetts
  3. 13% Former Governor Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota
  4. 9% Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey
  5. 8% Senator John Thune, South Dakota
  6. 5% Governor Bobby Jindal, Louisiana
  7. 3% Representative Paul Ryan, Wisconsin
  8. 3% Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Georgia
  9. 3% Senator Jim DeMint, South Carolina
  10. 3% Former Governor Sarah Palin
  11. 2% Governor Haley Barbour, Mississippi
  12. 2% Former Governor Mike Huckabee, Arkansas
  13. 1% Representative Mike Pence, Indiana
  14. 1% Ambassador Jon Huntsman, Utah
  15. 1% Representative Michele Bachmann, Minnesota
  16. 1% Representative Ron Paul, Texas

These straw poll results are quite different than those of other states.

Whereas in other recent polls, names like Palin, Gingrich and Mike Huckabee, show up in the front of field, in Washington, some of the more usual big name conservatives are languishingbehind the rest of thepack. In fact aside from the surprise story herebeing that Mitch Daniels is the big winner, and has been handed an unexpected boost to his presidential ambitions, the other big story to come out of these poll results is the fact that Mike Huckabee is a big loser. Here, Huckabee ties with Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour in 11th place and 2% of the vote.  In other polls, he is either the winner or somewhere close to it. His dismal showing in Washington, can be an indication of Huckabee’s lack of attractiveness as a candidate to voters ourtside of the South and Iowa.

Another important note in these results is Mitt Romney’s second place showing.

A second place finish in Washington wouldnot normally be problematic. But given Romney’s relatively high profile since his 2008 presidential campaign, coming in second tosomeone like Mich Daniels is a clear signal that Mitt Romney is in a weak position. And to emphasize that point, is the thedistancethat existed between first and second place. Mitch Daniels beat Romney by more percentage points than Romney even recieved. making matters worse for Romney is the indication that unless the conservative vote is split among numerous, Romney will have a tough time consoliditaing a clear majority of his own.

Washington state is not known as a haven for conservative politics. It leans to the left. But while the results reflects a lack of popularity for the most aggressive conservatives, it doesn’t necessarily reject conservatives. Neither Mitch Daniels or Mitt Romney can be considered liberal and aside from the third place showing of relatively moderate Tim Pawlenty, right behindthem are New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and South Dakota Senator John Thune, also fairly conservative people. All of this leads me to walk away from these results with the following extrapolation.

Right now, Washington state Republican activists are most concerned with the issues of spending, the deficit and budgets. As such, Mitch Daniels’ reputation and record in these areas have legs. Furthermore; while Mitch Daniels personally embraces the conservative line on social issues, he does not highlight these issues in ways that others like Huckabee and Palin do. To me it would seem that Daniels’ having gone on record as suggesting that Republicans call a truce on social issues and focus more on the greatest immediate threats we face, is one that Washington state Republicans agree with and appreciate.

Washington sends 43 delegates to the Republican National Convention and holds its nominating contest in February of 2012.

As for making a decision to win those delegates in run for President in 2012, Mitch Daniels has made clear that he will make his decision when the Indiana legislative session is over in April. But lately he has stated that he knows he must make a decision soon because the plans of many people hinge upon it. Other recent statements by Daniels regarding the problems that we as a nation face, have helped to make it sound like he is leaning more towards a run for the GOP nomination, than not.

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3 Responses

  1. […] for the most aggressive conservatives, it doesn’t necessarily reject conservatives. … “conservative politics” – Google Blog Search This entry was posted in Conservative Politics and tagged Daniels, Mitch, poll, presidential, […]

  2. […] a Daniels run gains fuel. Not only are there draft Daniels for President movements popping up, a recent straw poll of Washington state Republican leaders gave Daniels a strong first place […]

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