The presidential straw poll at this afternoon’s Values Voter Summit resulted in a surprise victory for Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) over former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR). Huckebee was the choice of social conservatives in 2009, but today he was narrowly defeated by a 24% to 22% margin. Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) received 13%.
Pence is the Chairman of the House Republican Conference. The major issues at the conference were opposition to abortion and gay marriage. Pence focused on both of them while Romney spoke about the economy. The major target of Pence’s speech was the Governor of his own state, Mitch Daniels (R-IN).
Pence made it clear that he disagreed with Daniels call for a “truce” over social issues. Daniels wants the GOP to concentrate on jobs and the economy. It was also a surprise that Sarah Palin did not finish among the top four candidates.
In a related development, The New York Times says: “Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) says the Tea Party has helped Republicans by moving the debate away from social issues. While Tea Party supporters tend to be socially conservative on issues like same-sex marriage and abortion, most say they don’t want to talk about them; they believe that by spending so much time on those issues, the Republican Party failed to focus on fiscal conservatism.”