Alternate headline: CPAC straw poll plumbs depths of irrelevance yet again.  How meaningless was the straw poll for preferred GOP presidential nominee?  The bronze-medal winner is Gary Johnson, the libertarian former governor of New Mexico.  That means that the libertarian vote actually got split this year, and wound up taking two out of three spots on the straw poll anyway:

For the second year in a row, Ron Paul won the presidential straw poll at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, earning 30 percent of the vote.

The Texas congressman, known for his libertarian views, ran for president in 2008 but was never a serious contender for the GOP nomination.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a 2008 GOP candidate who is expected to run again, came in second place with 23 percent of the vote. Romney won the previous three presidential straw polls before Paul snapped his streak last year. …

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came in a distant third with 6 percent of the vote, followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 5 percent.

Considering the environment, Romney has to feel pretty good about gaining the silver medal.  After Christie, who’s not running, and Gingrich, who may be, the order of the poll results were:

  • Tim Pawlenty – 4%
  • Michele Bachmann – 4%
  • Mitch Daniels – 4%
  • Sarah Palin – 3%
  • Herman Cain – 2%

Of the five, only Palin didn’t appear at CPAC this year.  Finishing below them were two prominent potential candidates, Rick Santorum and Haly Barbour, who did and finished with 2% and 1% respectively for their efforts. When combining first and second choices, the onlychange in the order is that Bachmann and Pawlenty trade places.

In other straw poll results, a slim majority of straw poll respondents believe that Republican control of Congress will rein in federal spending (51%) and reduce government regulation (50%).  A plurality of 47% believe that the GOP can get Congress to cut federal taxes.  CPAC’s voters are more pessimistic about repealing ObamaCare and paying down the national debt, with a plurality of 40% on each question believing that Congress won’t accomplish either task.

Of course, when Ron Paul and Gary Johnson team up on the dream CPAC ticket, maybe they’ll get a little more optimistic ….

Update: Warner Todd Huston has more.

Update II, 2/13/11: Young Americans for Freedom (not to be confused with Young America’s Foundation) has expelled Ron Paul from their board over his positions on the war and his refusal to distance himself from 9/11 Truthers:

YAF’s concern with Rep. Paul stems from his delusional and disturbing alliance with the fringe Anti-War movement.

“It is a sad day in American history when a one-time conservative-libertarian stalwart has fallen more out of touch with America’s needs for national security than the current feeble and appeasing administration,” said YAF’s Senior National Director Jordan Marks.

Paul, who had served on the YAF Advisory Board for more than two decades, was awarded with YAF’s highest honor, the Guardian of Freedom award, an honor Rep. Paul has touted on his biography for many years. Only a decade ago, Dr. Paul praised YAF’s work on the House floor. Paul called YAF’s founding document, the Sharon Statement “a great document explicating the philosophy of freedom.”

Marks doesn’t pull any punches in his statement, either:

“Rep. Paul’s refusal to support our nation’s military and national security interests border on treason, aside from his failure to uphold his oath to the United States Constitution and defend our country and citizens against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” Marks continued.

“Rep. Paul has strayed to the left of Obama and allied himself with the radical anti-war left by laying the blame on America for the unprovoked attacks of Sept. 11th. Additionally, Rep. Paul has not condemned the 9/11 “Truther” conspiracy theorists that support him, and he has repeatedly insisted, that the United States not bring justice to those who have murdered thousands of our civilians and soldiers at home and abroad. This is simply unacceptable. Clearly Rep. Paul cares more about a doomed presidential run than he does our country,” Marks added.

I didn’t add this to the post yesterday because I didn’t think it amounted to much, except for a chance to beat up Ron Paul a bit.  Commenters have noted the expulsion on other threads, however, and since this post will ride on top for a while, it seemed like a good place to note the expulsion.  It certainly qualifies as a stinging rebuke.