RLC straw poll produces "interesting" result UPDATE: Payola?

The Republican Leadership Conference is winding to a close this weekend and the straw poll results are popping up on the media machine already. It will come as no surprise that Ron Paul came in first, as he does in pretty much every straw poll held anywhere in the nation. (Where do these guys get the money to fly out and attend all these conferences?) But, as usual, the buzz that gets generated comes from who comes in second, and I’ll confess this one caught me by surprise. Though, as Greta described it, it may prove to be “Interesting… not binding or even instructive.”

  • Paul 612
  • Huntsman 382
  • Bachmann 191
  • Cain 104
  • Romney 74
  • Gingrich 69
  • Palin 41
  • Santorum 30
  • Pawlenty 18
  • Johnson 10
  • Roemer 9
  • McCotter 2

You can all make what you will of this, obviously. Straw polls in a limited, highly energized and partisan audience are precisely what the name implies… straw polls. But the Huntsman finish is certainly an eye opener. We can always assume that the Ron Paul army will show up anywhere such an event takes place and flood the ballot box, but does Huntsman have that sort of a well organized army which nobody knew about?

Bachmann and Cain being the only other ones to come in at triple digits are no surprise of course, and Palin ‘s numbers may be somewhat hindered by her lack of actually … err… you know… running. Mitt is highest among the sub-100 crowd, but that would probably be a reflection of the reactions of the base (who show up at such events) to the GOP voters across the nation as a whole, including indies and moderates.

Then again, as part of your discussion, is there something more to this tiny sample? Let’s face it, every time we run a poll here at Hot Air, Romney is admired only slightly more than the nail you find in your flat tire during a rain storm. And yet he’s leading in the national polls. Huntsman (*cough* RINO! *cough*) doesn’t receive much more in the way of accolades, but does he have some juice nationally?


UPDATE: Rumor is already leaking out, originally floated at Politico, that Team Huntsman was laying out some cash to fly people in and vote for Jon.

Rumors circulated here that Huntsman campaign had paid for supporters to attend the conference and a spokesman for the candidate, Tim MIller, didn’t deny that they had.

“Not commenting on internal strategy,” said Miller, adding: “The result demonstrates that young conservatives are responding to his record of success in Utah, willingness to take the debt problem seriously, and foreign policy message,”

Don’t take this as any sort of endorsement that it happened, but it is being talked about. All Politico has to go on thus far is “rumors” but Miller’s non-denial was certainly a strange response. I’ve been poking my own contacts on Team Huntsman on this question and have not gotten a response, so we’ll toss this out there as is for your consideration. If we get anything firm in either direction, updates will be forthcoming.