Townhall/Hot Air primary results: Gingrich 36.5, Romney 18.8, Paul 17.7, Bachmann 17.4

Every last one of you must have voted: According to Jon Garthwaite, who calls this “the largest and most secure digital poll of conservatives ever,” more than 250,000 online ballots were cast.

The winner is obvious. So is the loser.

1st place votes
Newt Gingrich: 36.5%
Mitt Romney: 18.8%
Ron Paul: 17.7%
Michele Bachmann: 17.4%
Rick Perry: 9.5% readers were also asked for their 2nd choice. Michele Bachmann was the favorite second choice.

2nd place votes:
Michele Bachmann: 25.4%
Newt Gingrich: 20.6%
Mitt Romney: 20.4%
Rick Perry: 18.2%
Ron Paul: 15.4%

Two points. One: It’s interesting that both Gingrich and Bachmann are doing much better in the online mega-poll than they are in national or Iowa polls. I can understand how that might happen to Bachmann, as conservatives who are passionate enough to read HA and TH every day might tilt right compared to the Republican electorate at large. But how’d Newt end up doing so well? Is he now a “true conservative” too simply by dint of being the current anti-Romney? He has as many votes here as Romney and Paul combined. Two: I’m stunned that Perry’s in fifth place, far behind Bachmann and just a few points ahead of Ron Paul as a second choice. Explain to me again what he did to make her preferable to a guy with a killer jobs record and 10 years’ experience governing one of the biggest, most influential states in the union. For cripes sake, Romney nearly doubled his vote total. Romney. It can’t all be because of that “heartless” comment about in-state tuition for illegals. What gives?

You can go watch Newt talking about the Keystone pipeline tonight at RCP if you like, but I’m more in the mood for this nifty archival compendium of him declaring himself a “Theodore Roosevelt Republican” over … and over … and over. Thanks to C-SPAN salvage artist Andy Kaczynski for the clip.