Chaos erupts as Ron Paul wins CPAC straw poll

His passionate band of supporters delivers another victory -- even as the rest of the crowd reacts with rage

Published February 12, 2011 10:50PM (EST)

Ron Paul won CPAC's Republican presidential straw poll for the second straight year
Ron Paul won CPAC's Republican presidential straw poll for the second straight year

And the winner of the CPAC presidential straw poll is ... Ron Paul.

That marks the libertarian Texas congressman's second win in a row. Just as he did last year, Mitt Romney came in second, with 23 percent to Paul's 30 percent. This mirrors 2010's poll almost exactly, when Paul got 31 percent and Romney 22 percent.

When the results were officially announced, CPAC's main hall erupted in cheers and boos, with Paul supporters trying to out-shout the disappointed majority.

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, whose libertarian message largely overlaps with Paul's, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tied for third with 6 percent each. Newt Gingrich got 5 percent. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty got just 4 percent. Also with 4 percent were Michele Bachmann and Mitch Daniels, Indiana's governor. Sarah Palin, who did not attend CPAC, got 3 percent, while former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain greceived 2 percent, as did Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.

3,742 people participated in the poll, a minority of the 10,000+ attendees.  (See what the straw poll ballot looks like here.)

Paul's support can at least partly be ascribed to friendly groups buying CPAC tickets en masse for Paul fans, who also made their presence known this year by heckling Dick Cheney.

Here's my interview with a young Ron Paul supporter on Thursday:

By Justin Elliott

Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica. You can follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin

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