Rep. Ron Paul won another another straw poll on Saturday, topping the Republican field with 37 percent of the vote at the Values Voters Summit. The libertarian congressman won similar contests held by the California GOP and the Conservative Political Action Conference, and he finished a close second behind Rep. Michele Bachmann in the closely watched Ames Straw Poll. With such consistently strong showings, why isn't Paul's campaign taking off?
Straw polls aren't everything: Paul has again proven the strength of his campaign, says Rich Stowell at The Washington Times. This win, and those before it, remind those who would dismiss Paul that he "has an extraordinarily disciplined and effective organization nationwide, ready to deploy at these major events." But the nominating process is a slog and his rivals are strong, so he'll have to be satisfied with the fleeting publicity each victory brings.
"What the straw polls mean for Ron Paul and the Republicans"
This win is too fishy to matter: One would think Paul "a bit too libertarian for social conservatives," says Joseph Knippenberg at First Things. But Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council explained everything when he pointed out that the Paul camp apparently packed the vote with his amped up supporters. This kind of thing doesn't boost Paul's candidacy; it makes "the whole enterprise of straw polling" look dubious.
"Values Voters straw poll"
The poll has meaning, but not for Paul: Paul won't "suddenly be treated as a frontrunner rather than a sideshow" because of any straw poll, says Molly Ball at The Atlantic. But there was meat in the result nonetheless. Herman Cain, fueled by a strong speech, won a strong second with 23 percent of the vote, which "will perpetuate the Cain boomlet." And Rick Perry, who was hoping to "get social conservatives who've written him off to give him another look," fell flat.
"Ron Paul wins Values Voter straw poll"