-By Warner Todd Huston
Let me begin this report of the results of the Illinois Straw Poll with a tweet I made prior to the closing of balloting. A Twitter discussion on who might win the Illinois GOP straw poll was in the offing and some thought Mitt might win. I countered saying:
Or Ron Paul stuffs the ballot boxes again. He has a TON of cash he never spends on anything, ya know?
I also said that we could see this Paul win occur when I wrote about the fecklessness of this poll earlier today.
Well, guess what happened? Ron Paul won the straw poll with 52 percent of the vote.
Naturally, Paul won the Internet ballots handily taking in 66.5% of the total. Also not surprisingly he only got 8% of the in-person votes at the 22 places where balloting was being conducted by actual voters at the brick and mortar polling stations the state party had set up for that purpose.
This whole situation was predictable, though. Despite that each vote cost $5 to cast, it is no surprise that Paul still won the Internet polling. Ron Paul has a ton of campaign cash and he pretty much only spends it stuffing ballot boxes at straw polls across the country.
The Illinois poll was the easiest — and likely the cheapest — effort for Paul to date. After all, he did not have to actually pay his acolytes’ expenses to go to Illinois. All they had to do was sit at home, electronically pay their $5 and vote, vote, and vote.
So, we can throw out the Paul victory. Lets look at the two that got second and third place, shall we?
Mitt Romney reached to 35% of the in person votes showing he has the stronger in-state ground game here in Illinois. Herman Cain came in with a very respectable 29% of the in-person votes also showing interest in him climbing among GOP voters.
In fact, Cain’t totals were closer to even with the in-person and the Internet-based votes. Cain’s Internet vote totaled 15%.
Romney’s Internet votes came in at much a lower 7%.
The good thing for the party is the high number of voters. The State GOP reported that 3,649 votes were cast. At $5 a pop that is a nice little pay day for the Illinois GOP. It also exceeds the total number of voters in most of the other state straw polls. As far as raising money is concerned, this was a success.
As far as getting a finger on the pulse of Illinois GOP voters? Useless. No matter if you love Ron Paul or not, this poll is still useless.