When the straw poll results are released this afternoon, bear in mind that it’s possible to vote online after making a nominal donation to the Family Research Council. There are roughly 2600 people in attendance at the event. Online voters will swamp them. The Ron Paul people know this, as do, presumably, the other campaigns. It wouldn’t surprise me to find Paul in the top three (along with--here’s my prediction--Romney and Huckabee). If you separate the online from the in-person votes (which Byron York hopes FRC will do), I’d add Thompson and subtract Paul). Stated another way, I won’t take Ron Paul’s performance here as an indicator of anything other than the devotion of his supporters, who are capable of swamping an event like this, but not of propelling him to victory in a primary, let alone a general election.
Update: Byron York has the straw poll results, which (as he notes) make it hard to distinguish between summit attendees and online voters (since some of the former might have voted online). Bottom line: the results are predictable--Romney and Huckabee at the top, with Thompson trailing (discounting Ron Paul’s results, as I said I would). With his speech, Rudy Giuliani might have made it more possible for folks like those attending the summit to vote for him in the general election. Given the alternative, I’d have no problem doing so.