|Straw Poll leaders Cruz, Palin & Carson|
The Western Conservative Summit convened this weekend by the Centennial Institute think tank of the Colorado Christian University saw many top tier conservative leaders make appearances--Sarah Palin, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Bobby Jindal to name a few.
Dr. Ben Carson, a newcomer to the political scene with no elected political experience, won the poll with 22% of the vote. Texas Senator Ted Cruz came in second place with 13% of the vote and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin came in third place with 12% of the vote.
This is the strongest showing that Palin has had in a straw poll for some time. And it's not due to lack of popularity. Having attended CPAC during the infamous Big Gulp speech, I can tell you that the energy in the room was unlike any of the other speakers, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson included, when Palin took to the podium. I have said time and time again that her poor showings in straw polls has to due with the perception that Palin is done with elected politics. Should Governor Palin announce an interest in running in 2016 (beyond the vague "fire in the belly" and "never say never" kind of non-answers that she often gives on questions about running) she would immediately become a top tier candidate.
Dr. Carson is wildly popular on the conservative stage right now, but as a political neophyte he is going to be hard-pressed to avoid first time candidate mistakes. He will also have to shift into politician mode and begin fleshing out his positions on every issue of the day. It's likely that if he starts doing that, his numbers will begin to diminish, although we at City on a Hill Political Observer welcome him to the stage to make his case.
I've also stated again and again that I don't believe that BOTH Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin will run for president. If Senator Cruz announces early that he's running, look for Palin to sit out and endorse him unless he should stumble during the primary. I'd expect Cruz to do the same for Palin if she chooses to run. These two are close political allies and it's just very unlikely that they will opt to run against each other as they will know that that will split the tea party vote and tilt the primary in favor of the RINO heir Bush or Christie.
As 2014 gets into gear and Sarah Palin campaigns for candidates across the country while making the case for the president's impeachment, look for a clearer sense of where she's going politically.
I'm not one to speculate on the unpredictable choices that the rogue from Wasilla will make, but it does seem that she's more fired up than ever and directing her attacks at both parties as colluding members of the permanent political class that seeks to dominate and oppress the "forgotten man" of the American people.
That said, these straw poll results are encouraging that the conservative grassroots folks are not buying what the GOP establishment is selling. It provides hope that the 2016 election will not be another next-in-line coronation of a hapless moderate establishment man. It should be an interesting campaign to say the least.