In a telling, but non-scientific, survey of the Republican Party’s social conservative base, former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) won the 2009 Values Voter straw poll with a 28 percent plurality of the vote. Five-hundred and ninety-seven people voted.
In October 2007, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) won the first straw poll held by this young event, a controversial result skewed by online voting by people who didn’t attend the conference. (There was no such online voting this year.) Mike Huckabee’s strong showing among voters who attended the conference foreshadowed his remarkable victory in the Iowa caucuses three months later.
Huckabee led eight other potential Republican candidates: Romney placed second with 12.4 percent, while Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) polled 12.23 percent, Sarah Palin polled 12.06 percent, and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) polled 11.89 percent. People included in the poll who didn’t the top five: Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.), Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum.
Only Pence, Huckabee, Pawlenty and Romney spoke to the conference before the vote, while Rick Santorum was scheduled to give a short invocation for Phyllis Schlafly at tonight’s banquet.