By Christopher Bedford
February 2, 2011
Conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) won a healthy first place lead for the third month in a row in ConservativeHQ.com's GOP straw poll of self-described conservative activists and Tea Partiers. DeMint won the poll with 43 percent of January votes, shortening his lead over the rest of the pack for the second month in a row.
The past three months have also seen a slow drop in second place winner Sarah Palin's (R-Alaska) poll numbers, which have decreased from 38 percent to 30 percent over the same span of time.
Behind Palin, Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) took third with 25 percent, despite maintaining that he will not run for president in 2012. As the field evened out, Christie rose from fourth place in December while actually losing percentage points.
For the first time, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has dropped from the top three, coming in in fifth place with 23 percent. Combined totals for all three months, however, still place Paul in third place with 27 percent, behind DeMint's 47 percent and Palin's 34 percent.
Meanwhile, speculation on a run by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) boosted the solidly conservative candidate from 16 percent in November to 24 percent in January. His decision last week not to run is sure to have an effect on February's straw poll while his conservative supporters spread their votes amongst the candidates.
Mainstream media "front runners," former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), received ten and nine percent of the vote respectively.
January additions to the straw poll made gains as well, with Herman Cain taking the lead at 16 percent, followed by former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton (eleven percent), businessman Donald Trump (ten percent), Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.) (seven percent), Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.) (three percent) and former Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-Utah) (two percent).
While the February straw poll will not feature Pence, it does see the addition of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), whose political exposure and state visits have given rise to speculation that she may enter the primary.
One candidate to watch in February will be former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, whose recent resignation from ambassador to Communist China has caused a buzz on whether he plans to run.
CHQ presented voters with 22 potential Republican presidential candidates and allowed voters to pick their top three choices for the nomination. Only registered members of CHQ may vote in the poll.
This poll will continue to be featured - so tell others to vote.
CHQ plans to continue the poll each month, reporting the results to see which political leader conservatives are most interested in seeing as the Republican presidential nominee for 2012.
Other choices for the ongoing monthly poll include former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), Gov. Gary Johnson (R-N.M.), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.), former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.), former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.).
Christopher Bedford is the Editor of ConservativeHQ.com.