CHICAGO, November 6, 2011 – It is the Year of the Outsider and that means victory for Rep. Ron Paul. Last night, the Texas congressman won the Illinois GOP straw poll with 52% of the vote. His enthusiastic grassroots support again stunned traditional GOP organizers garnering 66.5% support in online voting and 8% onsite voting. Businessman Herman Cain came in second with 15% online and 29% in person. Mitt Romney came in third with 7% online support and 35% in person support.
“What that says about our team is that we have a motivated grassroots movement in Illinois,” said Scott Davis, an Illinois coordinator for Ron Paul. “We’re plugged in, we’re paying attention, and we are in it to win it.”
Organizers like Davis see Ron Paul’s candidacy as a harbinger bringing a message of warning about the excesses of Washington’s crony culture. For decades, Paul has delivered that message to a tone deaf Capitol Hill but now with images of Greece in crisis and Occupy protester violence here at home, the piper is being paid and Paul’s message is resonating in a powerful way.
But the results are unreliable. Just last month, Herman Cain won another Illinois straw poll with 77% of the vote.
Under fire from allegations of sexual harassment this week, Cain has been fighting to stay on message. The bombardment of negative mainstream media reporting may be having its intended effect. Some polls show the Tea Party favorite advancing well-ahead of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Others show Cain’s support among GOP primary voters beginning to take a tumble.
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Cain’s favorably among Republicans has dropped 9 percentage points, to 57 percent from 66 percent from a week ago. Among all registered voters, Cain’s favorability declined 5 percentage points, to 32 percent from 37 percent.
As for Romney, the former Massachusetts governor may not be losing much sleep over the Illinois poll. After all, this is President Obama’s backyard. Though the President’s support has dipped below 50% even in llinois, he remains ahead of any potential GOP contender and retains strong approval in his adopted city of Chicago with 78% support. Most national Republicans have written off this solidly blue state, counting its 20 electoral votes firmly in the Democrat column. Illinois may be among the last safe places for President Obama, his approval rating continuing to erode nationally.
But at 3,469 votes, the Illinois Presidential Straw Poll is still significant for Republicans. The poll topped large states like [428 votes], Florida [2,647 votes] and California [811 votes] that held straw polls earlier this year. Moreover, the Illinois poll again indicates the disaffection of GOP voters and their consistent support of non-traditional, anti-politician candidates. Paul has surprised at straw polls over and over again and Cain continues to lead in overall polling, though not on a state-by-state basis, which still weighs in Romney’s favor. The strength of these trends has to be of concern to the Romney campaign going into 2012.
As the other GOP contenders fade away in popularity or implode as seems to be the case with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Romney may end up the last man standing. Whether that will be enough for Romney to clinch the GOP nomination and unseat Barack Obama is still anybody’s guess.
Conservative commentator and satirist William J. Kelly and Laura Kelly edit and manage the Tea Party Reports for Communities @WashingtonTimes.com. Kelly also pens Bill Kelly’s Truth Squad and is a contributor to Breitbart.com. He is a native of Chicago’s Southside. Email questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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