I am seeing a lot of conservatives out there buying some ridiculous spin about this weekend’s straw poll. Given the state of the Huckabee campaign, I don’t think they can get the credit; more likely, all Governor Romney’s rivals are deploying their press teams to try and deny him a victory.
Basically, people are saying that Governor Romney got swamped by the people who actually attended the FRC conference. Now, in point of fact, I do not contest that Governor Huckabee did get more votes from the people with whom we spent this weekend. But some folks are blowing this way out of proportion, claiming that the published margin of “on-site” votes invalidates Governor Romney’s victory in the total margin.
Many have already pointed out that the rules are the rules, and Governor Romney happened to follow them better than anyone else. But there are at least two pieces of this story that aren’t being told. The first is that people at the conference did not have the opportunity to vote after Governor Romney’s speech–which received a great deal of applause–whereas they did after Governor Huckabee’s. Governor Romney spoke at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, and the polls had closed at 6:00; Governor Huckabee spoke mid-morning on Saturday, and the polls were open.
The second point is perhaps the most important, and that is that the votes cast at the conference are not the same as the votes cast by people who were actually at the conference. Many people who were there, including Tony Perkins and his staff, voted online. So did most of EFM. The reason for that is that if you registered for the conference online, you got an e-mail like this one, which my wife received (emphasis added):
In an effort to serve you better we have created an online website that will be reserved to FRC Action Members. This section will include the latest poll numbers on the various presidential candidates, analysis of campaigns, presidential video voter guides and it also will permit you to participate in our annual Washington Briefing straw poll.
Enclosed you will find your username and password which is needed to gain access into the “Members Only” page.
To access this page go to the FRC Action website, www.frcaction.org and click on the “Members Login” button. Enter your “Username” and “Password” (provided above). Once you have done this, you have successfully logged into our “Members Only” page.
Charissa, please keep a copy of this email for your records. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us again at: 1-888-372-2284. Thank you for standing with FRC Action in defense of faith, family and freedom!
Your Friends at FRC Action
I’d bet you a jelly donut that a disproportionate number of Romney voters clicked over from that e-mail and voted right away. Why? Well frankly, I saw the folks at this conference, and many of the folks who were voting for Huckabee weren’t exactly computer savvy. That’s not a slam on them–good for them for not spending all their time on blogs!–but it would contribute to more Huckabee votes being cast at the event.