Ron Paul’s first place finish in the Values Voter Summit straw poll this past weekend should not be seen as a measure of support among social conservatives, said the president of Family Research Council.
Tony Perkins of FRC, which hosted the summit, noted on Monday that Paul’s supporters were bused in to vote, thus giving him the win with 37 percent.
Over 600 people were “bused in” to the event in Washington, D.C., Saturday morning, just to hear the Texas congressman speak and vote for him in the straw poll, according to Perkins in a Monday interview with The Christian Post.
There were 1,983 votes cast. Six hundred of those votes would represent 30 percent of the total.
“It's not like the Iowa Straw Poll where you bus your people in,” Perkins said. None of the other candidates mobilized and provided transportation for their supporters, according to Perkins.
“The majority of the people who came to the Values Voter Summit came to listen to the candidates and express their preference in the straw poll.”
The Ron Paul supporters who arrived by bus “really weren't part of the summit, they just came in to vote for Ron Paul,” Perkins explained.
As a result, Perkins believes that Paul's first place finish should not be seen as a sign that Paul has strong support among social conservatives. Due to Paul's support for the legalization of drugs, and some other issues, Perkins believes that Paul's “views are not orthodox social conservative views.”
Businessman Herman Cain came in second with 23 percent of the vote followed by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum with 16 percent. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Texas Governor Rick Perry tied for fourth place with eight percent of the vote.
Perry was leading in national polls after he entered the race but his numbers have rapidly declined after three poor debate performances.
Perry, an evangelical Christian, held a prayer rally in August before he was a candidate and social conservatives were thought to be one of his bases of support. A fourth place finish demonstrates that may not be the case.
“I thought he might do stronger,” Perkins said when asked about Perry's place in the straw poll.