For two months running, Townhall online news magazine and commentary site has been running an online poll for the GOP presidential nomination. Sarah Palin has won two months in a row. Ron Paul finished second.

Caffeinated Thoughts, at the end of 2010, ran a poll for Conservative of the Year. We made it clear that it was not just a presidential poll but open to any conservatives. I am pretty certain none of us here at CT took it too seriously. It is what our readers and those who found us on the internet thought. (Paul won that one, too.)

Last week I posted a parody mocking, not Ron Paul supporters, but those that think online polls or straw polls can give any indication of a candidate’s strength among the general populace.

Then along comes Townhall. Today I got an email. Two things I observed. First, this is what is found at the bottom of the “polling place”:

” Submitting your vote entitles you to receive conservative alerts from Townhall.com”

In other words, you must give an email address so that we can email you stuff. I don’t have any problem with the strategy, but it effects results of the poll. If folks don’t want emails from Townhall, don’t bother voting.

More importantly was this gem in the email:

“With rumors flying about potential candidates officially announcing, this could be a very exciting month for GOP presidential politics. Maybe some candidates are using this poll as a factor on whether they will run or not. It’s up to you to show your support to let them know that you want them to be the next President of the United States!”

I am not sure I would vote for any candidate who used “this poll as a factor on whether they will run or not”.   I would not want to belong to any club willing to have me as a member.

Straw polls aren’t much better.  Even the touted Ames Straw Poll doesn’t tell you much.  Romney won it in 2007.  McCain finished somewhere below Ron Paul.    That poll takes huge amounts of money just to compete.  First, it requires tickets in order to vote.   Campaigns often buy a huge amount of tickets to give away.   Second, rental spots for land, I understand, cost between $25,000 and $100,000 each, just to set up.  And if you are going to have roller coasters, merry-go-rounds, and ferris wheels, you’ll need that much land.  If it seems more like a circus than a way to choose a president, it is.

Just for the record, I’d say the same thing if Mike Huckabee won a straw poll or online poll.

9 comments
  1. Well said, David. Townhall cracks me up with their self-importance.

    Btw, I think BVD hinted strongly that Huck should skip Ames this time. What do ya think?

    1. The advantage is, it is an opportunity to meet fired up supporters and or persuade others who are politically active to join your team.

      It costs lots of money, though.

  2. REALLY?! Gomer “Pardon me, guv’ner” Huckleberry is who you’re supporting for 2012? The guy’s a nanny state, amnesty loving Obama lickspittle. You can do better than that!!

  3. REALLY?! Gomer “Pardon me, guv’ner” Huckleberry is who you’re supporting for 2012? The guy’s a nanny state, amnesty loving Obama lickspittle. You can do better than that!!

  4. REALLY?! Gomer “Pardon me, guv’ner” Huckleberry is who you’re supporting for 2012? The guy’s a nanny state, amnesty loving Obama lickspittle. You can do better than that!!

  5. I agree, these polls are meaningless, but may show one thing. I think the huge internet Ron Paul following is an indication of very passionate, young supporters who are chomping at the bit to do something. Right now that something is hunting down online polls, making sure their guy looks like he has as much support as anyone else. In a few months, when the real campagning begins, they will have something else to do, if the 2008 race is any indication, they will be out in groves, making signs, talking to other young people, growing their support, but right now…little else to do but find online polls.
    When I want to get a somewhat better idea of where support lies, I often look at the Real Clear Politics averages. Right now it is pretty consistently a three way race between Huck, Mitt and Palin, in the upper teens, Newt at 10% and Paul in the 5-10% range, with others in the low single digets. But even this is likely to change greatly depending on who announces and when and where support shifts and each decides whether or not to run.
    Thanks for the good read, have a good day David.

  6. Hugh was in the tank for Romney last time. You should get your facts straight. The man who killed the police officers was not pardoned, he was paroled by the parole board. He was not a murderer at the time he was released. Governor Huckabee refused to reduce his sentence to time served; however, he did reduce it from over 100 years to about 40. The man went on to several parole violations which were ignored by both Washington authorities and the current Arkansas Governor, Mike Beebe.

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