Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney may have been declared the straw-poll victor in Saturday’s Family Research Council conference in Washington, Huckabee supporters say their candidate really won the ballot.
In fact, among folks who actually attended the event, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was indeed the runaway favorite.
According to the results announced by the FRC, Romney garnered 5,775 votes in its Values Voter Straw Poll to narrowly edge out fellow GOP hopeful Huckabee.
But thousands of those Romney votes came not from audience members at the debate, but rather from online voters. Many paid as little as $1 for the right to vote on the Web, according to Politico.com.
Among the 952 people who attended the event at the Washington Hilton, Huckabee won in a landslide with 51 percent against Romney’s anemic 10 percent, the results show.
FRC President Tony Perkins says his group released all of the figures after the debate and news organizations were free to report and interpret them as they wished — including splitting the results into two distinct polls.
Perkins tells Politico.com that the FRC stuck to the rules of the straw poll as it had been described from the beginning, and could not stop candidates from influencing the results.
But one thing was clear, candidate Rudy Giuliani did not impress voters despite a personal appearance at the conferenece. He pulled just 6 percent of the on-site vote.
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