South Carolina Straw Poll

Erick Erickson informs us that “John McCain just lost his bid for the White House.” Why? He won the South Carolina straw poll:

    164 McCain
    162 Giuliani
    158 Hunter
    85 Brownback
    80 Romney
    21 Huckabee

Erickson argues that this narrow win over Giuliani and Hunter despite massive organizational advantages in South Carolina amounts to a loss.

Unfortunately, straw polls mean next to nothing. They are classic self-selected samples. Indeed, I didn’t even bother to vote in the CPAC straw poll.

As I reminded Stacy McCain earlier today, when he was touting Hunter’s numbers, Alan Keyes won the Alabama straw poll in 1999. He did not go on to win the presidency. Nor, indeed, did he win the 2000 Republican primary in Alabama.

Now, ultimately, I agree with Erick that McCain’s quest for the nomination is in deep trouble. But that’s because I have trouble finding any conservatives, broadly defined, who aren’t on McCain’s payroll that seem to like him.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Public Opinion Polls, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Tano says:

    Yes, when someone starts making firm conclusions about an election that is nearly two years away, based on less than 700 total votes in one county of one obscure state, then you know they really have lost all perspective.

  2. Geez, I guess that means Huckabee’s the winner and we can save the country lots of money by not bothering with all this election stuff.