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Santorum: 'I Don't Try to Rig Straw Polls' Santorum: 'I Don't Try to Rig Straw Polls'

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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / Sunday Shows

Santorum: 'I Don't Try to Rig Straw Polls'

Santorum lobs accusations at Romney and Paul over CPAC straw poll

Rick Santorum speaking at CPAC 2012.(CHET SUSSLIN)

February 12, 2012

Rick Santorum accused two of his opponents of trying to influence the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference both in the past and at its event this weekend. In Saturday's poll, Romney came in first place with 38 percent and Santorum—typically considered a conservative favorite—took second with 31 percent.

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“You know those straw polls, at CPAC,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. “For two years Ron Paul has won those because he just trucks in a lot of people, pays for their ticket, and they come in and vote and they leave. We didn’t do that. We don't do that. I don't try to rig straw polls.”

 

Santorum accused Romney of similar tactics at this year's conference. “You'll have to talk to the Romney campaign and [see] how many tickets they bought. We've heard all sorts of things.”

Santorum stopped short of accusing his rivals of dirty politics, saying that stacking the deck is “standard procedure for straw polls” and noting that, “there’s nothing wrong with that.”

“We just don’t think that’s a good use of our resources,” he said. “Governor Romney obviously may have a different idea.”

Romney’s campaign denied that it had any inappropriate influence on the outcome of the vote and cited their candidate’s win in Maine and a separate survey as evidence.

"Rick Santorum has a history of making statements that aren't grounded in the truth,” said Romney Spokesperson Andrea Saul in a statement. “Yesterday Mitt Romney won the CPAC straw poll and won a separate nationwide survey of conservatives conducted by CPAC organizers. Also, Mitt Romney won the Maine caucuses.”

And Ron Paul's campaign had equally harsh criticism for Santorum.

"That's either sour grapes, or a fundamental misunderstanding of what a straw poll is," e-mailed Paul Spokesperson Gary Howard. "From a career politician and lobbyist like Rick Santorum, I seriously doubt it is the latter."

Newt Gingrich came in third in the CPAC straw poll on Saturday with 15 percent and Paul came in fourth with 12 percent.

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