Frist’s victory, with 36.9% of the vote, came as no surprise. With the conference in his home state of Tennessee and his emphasizing the importance of the vote, he had a distinct advantage over other 2008 GOP presidential hopefuls.
Particularly of note about Frist’s supporters: a mere 74 97 voters were from outside Tennessee. That means 82% of his backers were from Tennessee. So while Frist might see today’s vote as a victory, it actually should be an eye-opening lesson about the work he needs to do.
Perhaps most surprising was the strong performance of Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who placed second with 14.4%. Romney beat Virginia Sen. George Allen—a favorite among Washington insiders—who finished with 10.3%. Romney also held a 10 percentage point advantage over the next closest governor, Mike Huckabee, who had 3.8%.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, who may have left Memphis with more enemies than friends for his straw poll mutiny, finished with 4.6%. Take together with supporters of President Bush—whom McCain urged his supporters to write in—he would have had 14.7%, slightly more than Romney.
Here are the complete, unofficial results courtesy of Hotline on Call:
|Pres. Bush (write in)||147||10.3|
|Write In (Not GB/CR)||43||3.0|
|Condi Rice (write in)||32||2.2|
UPDATE — March 13: For what it’s worth, Sen. George Allen received 95 votes from outside of Virginia — comparable to the 97 Frist received from outside Tennessee.