Ron Paul Wins 2011 Values Voter Straw Poll, Herman Cain Takes Second Place

From Michael Falcone and Amy Bingham:

Values voters love Ron Paul.


Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, speaks at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. (Image Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo)


The Texas congressman and presidential candidate who remains in the single digits in most national polls emerged as the choice of 37 percent of those who cast ballots at the annual Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.

Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, who has been surging in national presidential primary polls, came in second with 23 percent of the vote, followed by Rick Santorum who garnered 16 percent. Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann tied for fourth — both with 8 percent.

Current GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, who addressed the conference on Saturday, wound up near the bottom of the pack with 4 percent.

Here are the results of the straw poll:

Ron Paul – 37 percent

Herman Cain – 23 percent

Rick Santorum – 16 percent

Rick Perry – 8 percent

Michele Bachmann – 8 percent

Mitt Romney – 4 percent

Newt Gingrich – 3 percent

Jon Huntsman – 0 percent

Undecided – 1 percent

Here are the top four vice presidential choices: Michele Bachmann; Herman Cain; Marco Rubio; and Rick Santorum.

Saturday’s results were very different from last year’s Values Voter straw poll. The support for both Romney and Newt Gingrich declined markedly. Last year, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., won the straw poll and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took second place. Paul barely registered in 2010.

As ABC News’ Jason Volack reported, Rep. Paul spoke to the audience of hundreds of social conservatives in Washington earlier today, telling them that war was the greatest threat to the modern family.

And ABC News’ Amy Bingham spoke with several attendees at the annual conference this weekend to take the temperature of the cultural conservative voters. Despite Paul’s straw poll win, Bingham heard lots of support for Cain, but the door is still clearly open for other candidates:

Bruce Gordon of College Grove, Ore., said he supported Cain because he seems “down-to-earth.”

“He came up through hard times,” Gordon said. “His success wasn’t handed to him.”

Mary Lynn Scott from Le Sueur, Minn., said she was also a Cain supporter.

“The biggest problem right now is the economy, and he turned two companies around,” Scott said. “He has a good approach to problem solving, a solid sense of humor, he is a man of his word and he has never been in politics. So those things are all in his favor.”

Scott said that while she did not know if Cain’s 9-9-9 economic plan would solve all of the country’s fiscal problems, she supports him because he has a “real plan” and it is a “good place to start.”

But while Cain may have drawn the largest crowds, there was plenty of support to go around. Kelly Shackelford of Plano, Texas, said he was planning to vote for Texas Gov. Perry because “he has been around long enough and he knows what he’s doing.”

“I wasn’t satisfied with the [GOP] field until Perry entered the race,” Shackelford said.  “Then we finally had someone who was conservative across the board and who had the heft to compete nationally.”

He said he was looking for a candidate who not only shares his views but who also has executive experience, such as a governor.

“We need someone who as taken those values and then actually accomplished something through the political process with them,” Shackelford said.

Perry’s recent decline in the polls is just a symptom of entering the race with so much hype, Shackelford said, adding, “Eventually, that bubble is going to burst.

“I think it’s a matter of just bumps in the road,” he said. “Clearly, he has to do a better job of communicating the long list of conservative things he has accomplished.”