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Herman Cain wins Florida straw poll.

By a significant amount:

[Herman] Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza who charmed the three-day Republican conference’s delegates, took 37.1 percent of the vote, with Texas Gov. Rick Perry second with 15.4 percent.

The rest of the results: Mitt Romney, 14 percent; Rick Santorum, 10. 9 percent; Ron Paul, 10.4 percent; Newt Gingrich, 8.4 percent; Jon Huntsman, 2.3 percent; and Michele Bachmann 1.5 percent.

The very quick take:  excellent news for Cain, who generally shone in Thursday’s debate.  Bad news for Perry, as he was actively trying to win this race (and did not shine in Thursday’s debate).  Romney’s people are currently telling themselves and the media that it is not equally bad news for Romney, as he didn’t try to win this poll; which is true, but it’s bad news for Romney nonetheless.  As Karl over at Hot Air notes, from Mitt’s point of view the race comes down to Romney vs. Non-Romney… and from what I’m seeing, the GOP base is more or less in agreement that they’d like not-Romney, thanks.  For everybody else… this poll taunts Santorum, embarrasses Paul, and the rest should just go home.  As should Santorum and Paul, frankly.

As to the more long-term implications: Cain gets a PR boost out of this that should at least give him more air time at the next debate.  Perry takes another hit in people’s perception of him as electable.  Everybody else – explicitly including Romney – stays stable (or stagnated) in their current support.  And that’s it.  This straw poll is not statistically rigorous; its significance begins and ends as a rough snapshot of current enthusiasm among a specific subset of extremely motivated and aware Republican partisans.

I write this, morbidly certain that folks are going to ignore that last observation completely…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

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