So what time did the bar open?

Senator Dan Lederman tweets results of the South Dakota Republican Party Presidential Straw Poll held this evening at the GOP State Dinner in Sioux Falls:

2011 Straw Poll Full Results

  1. Herman Cain, 35%
  2. Newt Gingrich, 23%
  3. Mitt Romney, 20%
  4. Rick Perry, 7%
  5. Ron Paul, 5%
  6. Michele Bachmann, 4%
  7. Jon Huntsman, 3%
  8. Rick Santorum, 3%

Lederman may be scratching his head over these results, as they completely defied his pre-poll prediction of Perry and Bachmann on top with Romney nowhere in sight.

O.K., now you fellas are just funnin' with us, right? You're just trying to get some media attention and scare Romney into a few more conservative flip-flops before you all vote for him next November, right? I mean, why else would a majority of you pick two men who are incapable of winning the Presidency and who are really just working a little harder than Sarah Palin to sell books?

You don't really support Herman Cain. You don't really want to hit families of four making $50,000 with another $5,000 in taxes. You don't want to nine-tuple taxes on the bottom fifth of income earners (that's a lot of South Dakotans) and explode the deficit. You don't want to elect a man who knows nothing about foreign policy and who has said he shouldn't be expected to know anything about foreign policy until he's elected. You don't really want to see tone-deaf ads sandbagging your candidate and turning Barack Obama into Bill Clinton instead of Jimmy Carter.

The apparent minority of sober Republicans can take heart from their recent historical inaccuracy: the only other time they held a Presidential straw poll, at the 2007 State Fair, they went for Fred Thompson (25%) and Rudy Giuliani (19%) over the eventual nominee John McCain (14%). Hmmm... is there something about the lonesome prairie that makes South Dakota Republicans fall for talk-radio hosts?

Update 22:52 MDT: Ron Paul wins the Illinois GOP weeklong straw poll thanks to his avid online voters. Romney wins the in-person vote; Cain comes in second in online and in-person votes.

Update 23:02 MDT: At tonight's "debate" in Texas, Cain "seemed ill at ease" and "deferred frequently to Gingrich on complex aspects of federal programs." Cain can't answer any questions, can he?

Here's another reason Romney wins: he's doing the real legwork and building the love by campaigning down-ticket.

Update 07:03 MST: ...and here's why Romney will lose (though not by much) to Obama: he's peddling Paul Ryan's voucherizing destruction of Medicare. Kristi Noem will love that... and she will lose, too.

Votes in the SDGOP straw poll weren't cheap: According to the SDGOP events calendar, guests paid $75 just to attend the dinner, $250 for the VIP reception with Governor Dennis Daugaard, Senator John Thune, and Representative "Kristie" Noem. (Not only do these people vote for no-go candidates, but the can't even spell their own gal's name right.)