From NBC's Domenico Montanaro and NBC/NJ's Matthew E. Berger
The Romney campaign touted its Values Voter Summit straw poll victory after speaking to the group yesterday. Romney won with 27.62% of the vote -- just tenths of a percentage point ahead of Huckabee, who garnered 27.15%. But, as The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder notes, "Of those who were actually at the briefing … Huckabee took more than 50 percent."
In fact, Huckabee's on-site support was overwhelming with 488 votes, or 51% to Romney's 99 supporters or 10% for second. Giuliani had only 60 supporters in person – about 6% of the on-site vote.
The results are perhaps most disappointing for Fred Thompson, who was received warmly and has polled well among conservatives nationally and in South Carolina in particular, but apparently he didn't get the votes in this straw poll. Thompson finished with roughly 10% in the online poll and only 8% of the on-site vote.
The results are another strong indicator for Huckabee, but his paltry fund-raising figures have kept conservatives from rallying around him.
Romney actively campaigned for votes urging supporters via e-mail to vote for the former Massachusetts governor. And Giuliani aides were ready to point out the difference between Romney's score on site versus the Internet voting. They also stressed they don't participate in straw polls -- likely, however, assuming a poor showing. Giuliani used the same tactic for the Aug. 11 Ames straw poll.