Ron Paul Comes Third In Poll of Religious Right, Beats Giuliani, McCain, Thompson

Ed Stoddard
Reuters
Sunday October 21, 2007

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney narrowly won a Republican presidential straw poll of Christian conservatives on Saturday, while Rudy Giuliani persuaded few to look past his support of abortion rights.

The poll at a summit of self-styled values voters was largely symbolic but highlighted the continuing failure of ardent anti-abortion social conservatives to rally behind a single Republican candidate in the 2008 White House race.

Romney took 27.6 percent of almost 6,000 votes cast, just ahead of Mike Huckabee, the folksy former governor of Arkansas, who gained 27.1 percent at the conference organized by the Family Research Council.

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Maverick Texas Congressman Ron Paul was third with almost 15 percent while former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson got under 10 percent, a major disappointment for his campaign.

Giuliani was eighth with 107 votes -- under 2 percent.

The victory was a lift for Romney, struggling to overcome the distrust and hostility that many evangelical Christians feel toward his Mormon faith.

Romney appears to have been making inroads among religious conservatives as he portrays himself as a committed opponent of abortion, despite his relatively recent conversion to their cause. He told the gathering on Friday night that he would be a "pro-life president."

In his speech on Saturday, Giuliani appealed to his audience to look beyond his support for abortion rights and focus on shared values, such as fighting crime and his vow to relentlessly pursue the war on terror.

Full article here.

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