The Conservative Political Action Conference is holding it’s annual convention in Washington D.C. You may recall the 2010 CPAC Presidential Straw Poll stunning winner: Ron Paul. At the time Fox News belittled Ron Paul for winning the straw poll over their own paid staff, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. What was even more reprehensible is knowing that Mitt Romney, the winner of the three previous straw polls had received heaps of praise from the NeoCon News Channel.
Well, fast forward to 2011 and click on the link to Fox News’s CPAC mirror poll. They started out with 16 candidates to choose from, 2 divisions of 8, first round gave you 4 votes in each division. This went on to the “Electable 8″ and gave you 2 votes in each division. The Electable 8 ended with Sarah Palin (33%) and Ron Paul (31%) the only 2 people over 30% in the polls. Also moving on to the final 4 were Mike Huckabee (28%) and Chris Christie (26%). Division 1 voters giving Palin and Huckabee the edge though, didn’t seem to see much point in swinging towards Palin or Huckabee. When Tim Pawlenty (18%) got dropped along with Mitt Romney (20%), the divide between Huckabee and Palin only swung from 5% to 7%. The negligible increase seems to indicate that the typical Pawlenty or Romney supporter doesn’t see much of a difference Palin or Huckabee.
However when Ron Paul moved on with his 31% and Chris Christie moved on with his 26%, they left behind Michele Bachmann with 17% and Newt Gingrich with 25%. In the final four Christie’s popularity surged (so far) by 9%, while Ron Paul gobbled up the remaining 33% of Gingrich and Bachmann supporters. Here is what makes the most interesting scenario of this entire equation: Fox News kept their dancing bears out of the touch and grasp of direct polling against Ron Paul, and they will ensure it stays that way because the Final Four in 2 different divisions will not be reduced down to the Final Two and pit Sarah Palin against Ron Paul in direct polling on foxnews.com.
The Fox News polling also confirms just about any other serious poll that has ensured Ron Paul and Sarah Palin are amongst the choices. In April 2010 POLITICO/TargetPoint released a poll has 43% support amongst self-identified Tea Partiers, while Ron Paul took 2nd with 42%. Amongst Republicans overall Sarah Palin again took 1st place with 15% of the vote and Ron Paul took 2nd place with 12% overall. What was interesting coming out of that poll was that not one of a dozen Republicans could score over 50% of the Tea Party’s support. What this Fox News poll indicates too me is that a poll will come out soon indicating that that is changing. If Palin pick’s up a statistical deadheat with “establishment” Huckabee in the same poll with the exact same voters in it on foxnews.com but Ron Paul blows “establishment” Chris Christie out of the water. This indicates Tea Partiers are not as sold on Palin as they are on Ron Paul.
The ever present problem is the “but we have to beat Obama” mentality. Feb 6th brought out a new poll from Rasmussen showing a dead heat between Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee vs. Obama. Palin was down 11% to Obama while Ron Paul was only down 9%. If Tea Partiers do start to dump Sarah Palin, I doubt very much that the NeoCon’s are gonna try very hard to pick her back up. Watch for Ron Paul to begin closing those statistical gaps over the next 3 months, as the repercussions of Palin’s Midterm Missteps come around.