Herman Cain wins Florida straw poll.

By a significant amount:

[Herman] Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza who charmed the three-day Republican conference’s delegates, took 37.1 percent of the vote, with Texas Gov. Rick Perry second with 15.4 percent.

The rest of the results: Mitt Romney, 14 percent; Rick Santorum, 10. 9 percent; Ron Paul, 10.4 percent; Newt Gingrich, 8.4 percent; Jon Huntsman, 2.3 percent; and Michele Bachmann 1.5 percent.

The very quick take: excellent news for Cain, who generally shone in Thursday’s debate. Bad news for Perry, as he was actively trying to win this race (and did not shine in Thursday’s debate). Romney’s people are currently telling themselves and the media that it is not equally bad news for Romney, as he didn’t try to win this poll; which is true, but it’s bad news for Romney nonetheless. As Karl over at Hot Air notes, from Mitt’s point of view the race comes down to Romney vs. Non-Romney… and from what I’m seeing, the GOP base is more or less in agreement that they’d like not-Romney, thanks. For everybody else… this poll taunts Santorum, embarrasses Paul, and the rest should just go home. As should Santorum and Paul, frankly.

As to the more long-term implications: Cain gets a PR boost out of this that should at least give him more air time at the next debate. Perry takes another hit in people’s perception of him as electable. Everybody else – explicitly including Romney – stays stable (or stagnated) in their current support. And that’s it. This straw poll is not statistically rigorous; its significance begins and ends as a rough snapshot of current enthusiasm among a specific subset of extremely motivated and aware Republican partisans.

I write this, morbidly certain that folks are going to ignore that last observation completely…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

9 thoughts on “Herman Cain wins Florida straw poll.”

  1. The poll is a good cross-section of GOP voters in this state. I know many of the folks who planned the event, and they were diligent in trying to get a diverse group there.

    Cain has long resonated with Florida, Main St. types.

    Romney did have solid supporters there–he also has an endorsement from Sen. John Thrasher (he was temp chair of RPOF during transition after the Crist debacle).

    Romney also had solid support from an influential group of Florida’s young Republicans.

    In other news, the Perry campaign issued a very gracious statement congratulating Cain for his victory shortly after results were announced.

    I think Perry would have done better had he not made the ‘you don’t have a heart’ comment during the debate. Also, Florida attempted to pass a DREAM Act last year and there was a huge amount of anger at the grassroots over that, mainly because of the impact of illegals on healthcare and education in this state.

    I believe this victory for Cain counts in a way that will be a gamechanger, both in the shuffling you talk about above and in giving his campaign a significant boost nationally.

    There have only been three other straw polls like P/5 (didn’t do one in 2008). Each winner in those 3 polls went on to secure the nomination.

  2. I am thrilled to see Herman get some real recognition. He is a problem solver and incredibly smart. If he can get a bounce and some $$$ from this, he can stay in longer and maybe have a shot. Perry is going to defeat himself with his positions on illegals and his inability to debate. (Perry’s a great campaigner but never has been good behind the debate podium.) The GOP needs a strong Conservative and if Herman can overcome his association w/the Fed, he can easily win over the Grassroots.

  3. So is it fair to say that Romney is the nominee the RNC/country club Republican set would prefer to see get the nod, Moe? I suspect you’re more tuned in there than I am, but that’s the idea I get reading various pundits who are trying to shape the race. For me, my preference right now for President next time is Anyone but Romney (including, just barely, Ron Paul, but only just barely), Romney, and then Obama. And my sense is that Perry’s going to have to work hard to lose the ABR vote. But I may be skewed, being in Austin, after all. I actually don’t care for Perry much at all, except that I think he’s a reliable politician, he’ll stay bought.

  4. Put it this way: if Romney is the nominee, I doubt I’ll bother to vote. There won’t seem much point in exchanging one big government liberal for another, and I would rather the democrats get the blame for doing essentially the same thing. I wish I had some money to give Herman Cain……

  5. @qixlqatl – I felt that way last time, at least until Palin was the VP nominee giving me something to vote for, and one thing this term has taught me is that things can be waaaaaaay worse than I thought they could be. I mean, McCain would have been an absolute disaster as President, probably set the Republicans back two decades with all the liberal things he’d have pushed through as ‘bipartisan’ (ie, the Maine sisters and all the Democrats in the Senate), and yet Obama has shown us how much worse things can be.

  6. I really don’t see Florida going for Romney, although many of my good Republican friends hope that happens. Sen. Thrasher is very influential and very respected (including by me) in Fla. Romney also has solid support from Jacksonville’s young Republicans.

    And Romney has solid support from a number of GOP women who are very active; Perry also has that sort of support.

    I don’t know about the country club part. Our new chair Lenny Curry is a regular kind of guy, a really intelligent thoughtful man.

    I did an essay tonight that brings some ideas forth about the election, but I have to confess I felt Cain would win even before he spent time here before the convention. I talk to a lot of Main St. types–small biz owners, young people (our daughters’ friends because we spend a lot of time around them), independents. Cain is wildly popular with this crowd.

    What I hear Main St. saying is they will not compromise and relive 2008. I pray the party takes that to heart because yes, Florida will work for our Republican nominee. But it would be much better if that nominee fired Florida up and inspired confidence he could take Obama down in a debate. That is key whether we want to admit it or not.

    So there you go.

  7. Well before this staw poll, my own REC held one. In our local one, Cain tied with Perry for first (if I remember correctly). When Cain came to our county and now this great showing in the debate/straw poll, I’m sure Cain can win our own straw poll hands down right about now.

  8. BigGator5, I think people who don’t live in Florida have a hard time understanding Florida, especially when it comes to some of the most free-thinking Republicans I’ve ever met. :>)

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