It wasn't a rout, but Mike Huckabee did win the 2009 Value Voters Summit straw poll by a margin greater than any of his opponents received. Huckabee won a plurality of the 597 voters with Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin and Mike Pence all jumbled up behind the former Arkansas governor.
Huckabee: 28% (~167)* Romney: 12% (74) Pawlenty: 12% (73) Palin: 12% (72) Pence: 12% (71) *Raw votes in parentheses (via Jonathan Martin) ------------------------ Newt Gingrich, Bobby Jindal, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum all split the remaining 24% of the voters. Rick Perry pulled his name off the ballot on Friday.
One thing that struck me as curious was that, in looking back at the 2007 Value Voters straw poll, Romney won and there were approximately ten times as many votes cast. The total two years ago was inflated by online voting whereas this year's poll was comprised of those in attendance.
What does it all mean? Well, the top two are still the same as they were two years ago, but the ordering is reversed. Again though, it is still early yet to be thinking about the 2012 race (despite the fun). One thing that is interesting is that Huckabee's position in these results mirrors some of what we've seen in the 2012 polls conducted thus far. Especially in the case of the general election trial heats against Obama, Huckabee has consistently done the best. Head-to-head in the Republican primary polling, though, the former Arkansas governor has been trading the top honor with both Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, with all three clustered atop the list well ahead of all other prospective candidates. Are those general elections trial heats driving this straw poll result or are these the type of voters that are being picked up in and supportive of Huckabee in those polls? It is an interesting question that I don't think we really have an answer to.
Regardless, this is an early feather in Huckabee's 2012 cap.
...but will he decide to run? (See, I told you it was early.)