Grass Root Political Trends

Ever heard of the conservative group Well they recently held an election straw poll of their membership and 39,000 members participated. Here are the results:

• When asked whom they would vote for if the Republican primary were held today, 28 percent preferred Fred Thompson (up from 26 percent in May), whose closest rival, Mitt Romney, gained 14 percent of the vote (down 2 percent from May).

• Rep. Ron Paul showed the biggest gain from Grassfire’s May poll, rising from seventh position (6 percent) to a solid third position (13 percent) – a more than a 50 percent increase in support among grassroots conservatives. Mike Huckabee’s support also rose, from 3 to 7 percent. “Paul’s rise shows that conservatives are not all that thrilled with the anointed frontrunners,” says Grassfire president Steve Elliott. “Paul’s message is resonating with many conservatives, and it would be wise for the other candidates to take note.”

• Although they favor Thompson, conservatives still expect Giuliani to win the nomination.

• Conservatives warn of an exodus should Giuliani face Clinton in the general election with 29% indicating they would abstain or vote for a third party -- an increase of 4% from Grassfire’s May poll. Slightly less (25%) warned of an exodus in a Romney-Clinton general election.

• Conservatives now overwhelmingly expect Clinton to win the Democratic nomination (70%, up from 50% in May). The expectation of an Obama nomination dropped nearly in half (29% to 15%).

• Conservatives have given up on the McCain campaign. The Senator lost half his support (down to 4%) while dropping by two-thirds among those who think he is likely to win (14% to 4%).

• Support for “staying the course” in Iraq dropped from 67% in May to 58% in August, while the percentage of conservatives calling for withdrawal rose from 16% to 22%.

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