Ben Carson pulled away with the victory in the presidential straw poll at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in OKC this weekend – ahead of Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, and other 2016 hopefuls.
Carson walked away with 25.4 percent of the total 958 votes cast, with Walker at 20.5 percent and Cruz in third at 16.6 percent.
More than 2,000 individuals were registered for the conference, but for a majority of the three-day event the ballroom appeared to be half full.
Carson and Cruz were the only candidates to purchase booths at the conference, which were constantly surrounded by supporters and staff in an apparent effort to connect with voters. Both Carson and Cruz also bought a small amount of tickets to resell at a lower price.
Other Republicans at the conference failed to pull in votes at the poll, with Chris Christie in fourth well below Cruz, at 5.3 percent of the votes cast. The other Republicans finished with; Rick Perry (5 percent), Jeb Bush (4.9 percent), Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jidal (4.1 percent each), and Mike Huckabee (2.7 percent).
The Southern Republican Leadership Conference straw poll also covered which current issues resonated the most with attendees – social, economic, or national security. A solid 46 percent in attendance voted national security as the most important key issue, followed by the economy with 40 percent of votes cast.
In addition, the poll measured where attendees fell on the political spectrum, with a 42 percent chunk identifying as part of the Tea Party. Among that 42 percent, Ted Cruz was favored. Social conservatives favored Ben Carson, and economically-minded voters favored Scott Walker.
Historically, straw polls are fairly inaccurate, giving the impression that they actually matter in the long run. In the much larger annual Conservative Political Action Conference, on-record straw poll winning candidates have only won the GOP nomination 4 out of 20 polls.
“If it acts like most straw polls do this early on, it’ll pick some little-known activist type with a quarter of the vote, who hasn’t got a hope in heck of being the nominee,” Keith Gaddie, Chairman of the Department of Political Science at OU. “Seems to me that the previous observation holds.”
In other words, the SRLC straw poll is worthless.
Story By: Erick Payne