The presidential preferences of tea party activists in the Philadelphia region have shifted dramatically to Rep. Michele Bachmann in the past year, according to a comparison of straw polls of attendees at separate rallies on Independence Mall.
Bachmann, a Republican candidate from Minnesota, won 23.5 percent of the 533 votes cast at an energy independence event held July 4 by the Independence Hall Tea Party Association, a grassroots group with members from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
(In the association’s 2010 straw poll, Bachmann got just a handful of votes.)
This year, businessman Herman Cain – who spoke at the rally – finished second with 14 percent of the vote. Ron Paul, the libertarian from Texas, won 13 percent, after some of his votes were disallowed, because of ballot irregularities.
“Clearly, some of Ron Paul’s voters tried to vote three, four, and five times – providing erroneous email addresses or no email address at all,” said association board member Don Adams. Participants were asked to provide email to have their votes count. Results were released July 8.
The fraud “delayed our tabulation,” Adams said.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has said he may seek the Republican nomination, finished fourth with 11 percent of the straw poll vote. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has sworn on his life that he will not run for president in 2012, received 10 percent of the vote.
Sarah Palin got 7 percent, Mitt Romney, the frontrunner in national polls, took 5 percent.
Former PA Sen. Rick Santorum and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton tied for eighth with 3 percent each. (Bolton spoke at the rally.)
In last year’s Independence Tea Party straw poll, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, a GOP leader on budget issues who has proposed privatizing Medicare to reduce costs, won with 15 percent of the 500 votes cast. Palin was second with 13 percent. Romney had 11 percent. Santorum had 8 percent.