CPAC 2011 On The Ground: Straw Poll Time!

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The results of the 2011 CPAC Straw Poll are in. Rep. Ron Paul, unsurprisingly, wins:

  • Texas Rep. Ron Paul: 30 percent
  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: 23 percent
  • Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson: 6 percent
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: 6 percent
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: 5 percent
  • Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty: 4 percent
  • Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann: 4 percent
  • Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels: 4 percent
  • Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin: 3 percent
  • Former talk show host Herman Cain: 2 percent
  • Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: 2 percent
  • Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum: 2 percent
  • South Dakota Sen. John Thune: 2 percent
  • U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman: 1 percent
  • Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour: 1 percent
  • Others: 5 percent
  • Undecided: 1 percent

The numbers are very similar to the results of last year's straw poll wherein Paul won with 31%, Romney followed with 22%, and everyone else registered in the single digits. So what does it all mean?

Well, nothing really.

Everyone knows that Rep. Paul's supporters are extremely motivated and loyal. They revere the man for standing on his principles, and they regularly show up in force when it comes to straw polls and other measurements of presidential potential. At CPAC, the Paul folks were mostly young, raucous, vocal in their support of Paul and his ideas -- and even more vocal in their disagreement with the Republican "establishment."

3,742 CPAC attendees voted in the straw poll. Over half of the voters were students; 49% between the ages of 18-25. In other words, Ron Paul's base.

Rep. Paul won't care, he'll use this victory to raise funds, something he does particularly well. He doesn't, however, put it to the most efficient use and it remains to be seen whether this time around he can translate the fervor of his supporters into a greater number of votes in key primary states.

A Brooklyn transplant now residing in Washington, DC, Claudio Simpkins is a former corporate attorney and media surrogate for Republican candidates. He has consulted on youth, urban, and minority outreach and analyzed the 2008 Republican presidential primaries and general election for various new media outlets. He can be followed on Twitter @csimp19.