A decidedly unscientific straw poll of attendees at the recent Conservative Leadership Conference in Las Vegas provided some rather interesting results. Let’s start with the GOP presidential poll: Herman Cain won, Mitt Romney placed and Rick Perry showed.
Cain’s first place finish indicates once again that the world belongs to those who show up, as no Republican candidate has campaigned harder or more often in Nevada during the last six months than Herman Cain. He earned his victory the old-fashioned way … working for it.
Mitt Romney’s second-place finish probably doesn’t suggest any serious danger to his front-runner position in Nevada’s presidential caucus next February, but Rick Perry’s third-place finish, considering the fact that he’s not even a candidate yet, certainly does.
Romney’s support here is at least somewhat due to the perception of inevitability. It sure isn’t because he’s campaigned here the way the Hermanator has. Indeed, I can only think of one high-profile stop in Nevada over the past few months, and that was solely to raise buckets of cash via a dialing-for-dollars-athon.
On the other hand, it was Romney blowing off the scheduled July 10 debate in Las Vegas that ultimately caused that debate to be canceled, which didn’t sit well with many of us locals. So if Perry does enter the race and actually competes in Nevada, he might not only give Romney a run for his money, he could end up with an unexpected come-from-nowhere win.
Other prez straw poll results showed that the majority of conference attendees think there is a 50-50 chance that President Obama will be re-elected and that Sarah Palin’s window of presidential opportunity has now closed. Oh, and the No. 1 pick of possible GOP vice presidential candidates, not including current presidential candidates, was freshman Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has ties to Las Vegas from his youth.
As for the Nevada-specific straw poll questions, there’s still overwhelming opposition to making Las Vegas the gay marriage capital of the world, no matter how bad the economy is. As for legalizing prostitution in Clark County and creating a “red light” district somewhere near downtown Las Vegas, there was 3-2 opposition — a number I suspect could be effectively reversed if the right PR campaign were launched, especially if Nevada’s economy remains in the toilet.
And finally, half of those participating in the straw poll gave support to legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana use and possession for one ounce or less, not just medical marijuana. So in addition to round-the-clock drinking and gambling, there might be support for getting high and getting, um, “lucky” in a cathouse in Nevada.
Just don’t try to get married. At least if you’re gay. We do live in interesting times.