Straw Vote: Conservatives Hand Mike Pence the Keys to the Car

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"Although we love Sarah and she's exciting, I think she would be much better in the vice president role and have someone like Mike Pence leading us," Swiderski said. "I think she could step up and do that, but we've kind of seen some inexperience this time. And I think we want someone who understands how to work with people in the House; to get bills passed that we need passed; and to get this Obamacare repealed."

So, perhaps it was for this reason that Palin received fewer votes, not just than Pence, but also than Mike Huckabee (22 percent), Mitt Romney (13 percent), and even Newt Gingrich (10 percent).

In fact, Gingrich -- a fiery critic of President Obama -- gained a lot of support after he fired up conservative attendees with his speech Saturday. In it, he assaulted the president's Health and Human Services Secretary for warning insurers Friday not to blame rate hikes on health care reform.

"She was behaving exactly in the spirit of the Soviet tyranny," he shouted to applause.

And, despite the often controversial rhetoric, this speech was a real crowd pleaser at the summit.

"The rhetoric was a little strong, but for the most part he's accurate," Swiderski said. "His speech had great enthusiasm and a strong will. He's becoming more conservative. We sort of think of him as a more moderate person, but today he gave a great conservative speech talking about family values and how important that is to this country."

Enthusiasm. It's a quality Gingrich demonstrated in his speech Saturday. It's a quality conservatives have come to admire. And it may well be the deciding factor in the upcoming November elections, because the most recent data has shown that there is currently a profound enthusiasm gap between Democrats and Republicans.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives will be on the ballot come November and at least 75 of them are believed to be at risk of changing hands. If Republicans can win just 40 of these 75, they will have snatched control of the House.

Considering the currently dismal economic climate in this country and the President's sagging numbers, Republicans everywhere seem enthusiastic about their chances of doing just that.

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