Over the period between August 16th and August 19th, The Grassroots Texans Network conducted an unscientific straw poll of 120 known active tea party organizers in the State of Texas. The poll was conducted according to two separate methods of voting. 47 of the 120 organizers responded.
The results of the straw poll are below:
This poll was conducted August 16th-19th using the electronic balloting services of BallotBin.com. Under the polling process, 120 local tea party organizers from across the State of Texas were identified and sent electronic ballots. Each of the organizers invited to participate received a unique and secure ballot. This was not an open poll of the type often hosted by news outlets and blogs, but rather a targeted, invitation-only electronic poll of the preferences of known local organizers and activists. Thus, this poll was not vulnerable to the “poll spamming” often seen in online polls, where advocates for a particular candidate jam the poll with votes from like-minded respondents.
The organizers attempted to be as fair as possible in identifying a broad cross-section of Texas tea party organizers. The only criteria employed was that each participant was known to be an organizer of a local tea party group in Texas.
Of the 120 local organizers identified, 47 organizers chose to participate in the poll. Each participant was presented with a secure ballot requesting their candidate preference according to two methods. The first method asked the participant to select up to three candidates which they would prefer for the Republican nomination. The second method asked each participant to sort the candidates by order of preference, from most preferred to least preferred. In each case, the choices were initially presented to each respondent in a randomized order so as to eliminate any bias imposed by the order of presentation.
The processing of the votes was conducted automatically and independently by BallotBin.com and the votes were processed and reported by BallotBin.com. The poll organizers had no control over the voting process other than to draft the questions, invite the participants, and set the time limits.
While he is generally considered to be the front-runner nationally, Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney performed very poorly in this poll. Only 2 of the 47 respondents cast one of their three votes for Romney, and he ranked 11th overall on the Ranked Pairs ballot, beating out Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Gary Johnson, Thad McCotter and Jon Huntsman.
Based on the votes of 47 local tea party organizers in the State of Texas, Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann came out on top in both polls, with 28 votes in the ‘Top 3’ poll and 538 points in the Ranked Pairs poll. Under the ‘Top 3’ method of voting, 28 of the 47 respondents cast one of their three votes for Rep. Bachmann. 19 of the 47 did not cast any of their 3 votes for Rep. Bachmann. Thus, while a majority of the respondents consider Bachmann a top 3 preference, over one-third do not.
Texas Governor Rick Perry took second place in the ‘Top 3’ balloting with 22 votes, and third place in the Ranked Pairs balloting, with 458 points. Under the ‘Top 3’ method of voting, 22 of the 47 respondents cast at least one of their 3 votes for Rick Perry. 25 of the 47 respondents did not cast any of their 3 votes for Gov. Rick Perry. Thus, while a substantial portion of respondents consider Perry a top 3 choice for President, a majority do not.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (not announced) took second place in the Ranked Pairs balloting with 458 points, amd came in sixth in the ‘Top 3’ balloting.
South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint (not announced) took third place in the ‘Top 3’ balloting with 16 votes, and sixth place in the Ranked Pairs balloting, with 348 points.
Paul Ryan (not announced) and Herman Cain took fourth and fifth place, respectively, under both methods of voting.
On the Ranked Pairs ballot, while Bachmann led the rest of the pack by 80 points, Palin, Perry, Cain and Ryan would likely be considered to be in a statistical dead heat, with only 26 points separating the pack. Demint, Bolton, Christie and Santorum can reasonably be placed in a tightly-grouped third tier separated by 29 points.
This is not, and is not intended to be, a scientific poll or a prediction of any election outcome, but only a snapshot of the preferences of many Texas tea party organizers at this specific point in time. The Grassroots Texans Network plans to conduct additional polls in the future, so as to track trends and provide additional insight into the evolution of tea party opinion within the State of Texas.
Supporters of poorly-performing candidates may point out that there is some potential for subjectivity in the identification of the organizers. This is a valid criticism. With very few exceptions, however, the organizers had no information whatsoever as to the candidate preferences of the local organizers within the group of 120. They still do not, and the polling was conducted by secret ballot. Nonetheless, in order to address this completely valid concern, the organizers of this poll are planning to hold additional polls including any and all legitimate local organizers who wish to participate in future balloting.
Given their active efforts to engage tea party activists, it is not surprising that Rep. Michele Bachmann and Gov. Rick Perry ranked at the top of the list of tea party candidates, though Rep, Bachmann’s first-place finish in Gov. Perry’s home state might be surprising to some. To the extent that this poll accurately reflects tea party opinion, Gov. Perry can still be considered within striking distance of Rep. Bachmann, and still has several months to close the gap.
Worth noting is the fact that two out of the top five candidates in each poll (Jim DeMint and Paul Ryan in the Top 3 ballot, and Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan on the Matched Pairs ballot) are not in the race at this point in time, although each has been the subject of much conjecture.