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Ron Paul Wins Straw Poll in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ron Paul Wins Straw Poll in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, PA)

Reported by: Tom Kawczynski

Today, I attended the Republican Committee of Allegheny County’s (Pittsburgh, PA) Annual Summer Picnic. The admission cost including lunch was $10 per person and $20 per family. Upon arriving at the event, I learned that a straw poll was being held there that was administered by the Plum Borough Republican Committee.
We had a booth there being manned by myself and another member of the Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania Ron Paul 2008 Meetup Group, and upon learning this, we made the call so that others of our group would attend and be able to participate in the event. We came to talk to Republicans and to spread our desire to work to promote the Constitution and received a friendly response from the many people who were there today.

As Andy and I talked to the Republicans gathered about our shared message of small government and fiscal responsibility, a number of our members showed up and we began making an impact upon the poll. Not knowing about this event ahead of time, we were able to mobilize, and by the time the event concluded, here was the final tally out of 62 votes cast:

Ron Paul – 28 votes (45.2%)
Rudy Giuliani – 9 votes (14.6%)
Mitt Romney – 9 votes (14.6%)
Fred Thompson – 8 votes (12.9%)
Mike Huckabee – 2 votes (3.2%)
Undecided – 2 votes (3.2%)
Sam Brownback – 1 vote (1.6%)
Duncan Hunter – 1 vote (1.6%)
John McCain – 1 vote (1.6%)
Colin Powell (write-in) – 1 vote (1.6%)
Newt Gingrich – 0 votes
Tom Tancredo – 0 votes

We were very pleased by the fact that we were able to mobilize our members, and to show the organizational strength of Ron Paul in Pennsylvania. The list of victories continues to grow, and we know we are doing our part to spread the word. Believe me, people are beginning to notice as I saw firsthand and this is making a huge impact.

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Great News

Great news,

but what would also be really interesting to know is how many of the 28 votes were from the people already there? How many did you win over? How many do you think left the picnic with the serious intention of checking out Dr. Paul?
All those straw poll wins will avail to little, if not nothing (since the MSM is obviously determined to just ignore them), if we can´t actually win over a significant part of the "usual suspects", the rank-and-file GOP that usually attend these events and influence public opinion in their community.

Looking at video footage from some of the events (I´m not talking about this specific event but in general, especially the smaller ones) I´m afraid that some of you put too much emphasis on just winning the polls by sheer "external" numbers and putting up a big and loud show of support for Dr. Paul (I know that´s just enthusiasm but to most of the other attendees, especially the older ones, it will come across as pretty rude) instead of politly engaging them in discussion and trying to convince them to vote for Dr. Paul. After all it´s their home turf and we are essentially just guests. And they don´t really conduct their straw polls to gauge the opinion of a bunch of strangers, some of them not even republicans, but that of their local longstanding members (from their point of view you could easily say that we simply started "spamming" their straw polls ;-) ).
If we had a fair press covering that wouldn´t be much of a problem since a decent reporting of the win would easily outweigh a score of potentially pissed off locals. But as it stands now we have the risk without much gain.

All this said, I think the current result is great, but a win by just 1 vote, only coming from the regular attendants, would be immensely more valuable.
How about the following strategy for comming events (not the big "public" ones like fairs, but the small events of local "clubs", "committees", etc.):
arrive early before the voting begins, don´t stay in a big Ron Paul group, each of you single out one or a small group of the other attendants, start a conversation, don´t start with offensively promoting Ron Paul, first just talk generally about standard conservative issues, taxes, small government, fiscal conservatism, border security, Ronald Reagan, identify where they stand on the issues then pick the ones that fit best and start introducing Ron Pauls views ( = don´t talk about your pet issues but the ones they want to hear about), hand them some info material and leave them for a while, return shortly before the voting starts and resume conversation, at the start of the voting if you have the impression that there is a good chance the person might be considering to vote for Dr. Paul say something like "Time to vote now!", when they then start to go to the voting area remain where you are, when they ask you if you aren´t going to vote tell them it´s their poll and you´re quite confident that they are perfectly capable of identifying the only truely conservative candidate for themselves.
I´m convinced that would make an enormously positive impression and tip many of the still wavering ones over.

This way we might not get as many wins with 4-to-1 or 3-to-1 margins but I don´t have a doubt that the massage is strong enough for narrow wins or strong second places. And unlike the current ones, those couldn´t be ignored and explained away by the party bigwigs.
(And if you were to see that there is no chance of having your target convinced you could still vote yourself)

Any opinions?

Good points

I've been wondering myself about how many of the votes were from members of our local Meetup group and how many were from people who regularly attend this picnic. Tom just sent me an e-mail and asked me to post it and I haven't had a chance to get any additional details from him yet.

I will point out some factors. The park where the event was held is not one of the most popular parks in the county. In fact, I'm sure most county residents don't even know it exists, let alone how to get there. Also, today was our Meetup group's Ron Paul Day at Kennywood Park, the big local amusement park. I know we had a good number of people attending that event in their t-shirts as a way of getting the word out about Ron Paul. I can't see a lot of people paying an entry fee for Kennywood then leaving the roller coasters, et al, and heading off to a small, obscure park miles away to pay to go to a political fund raising picnic.

Allegheny County is overwhelmingly Democrat, but I am happy with this straw poll victory no matter what the circumstances, as I'm sure every other regular visitor to the Daily Paul is as well.

I sincerely apologize if my

I sincerely apologize if my comment has come across as me not being happy with the victory. Of course I am.
(and with Toms account even more so *g*)

I just remember people a

I just remember people a while back all going, "They keep saying we're spamming the online polls, just wait 'till we start spamming the voting booths." This seems to be the precursor to that.


This is the way to do it! Between now and the primaries:

1 - Attend all your local and county GOP meetings, picnics, parades, and polls.
2 - A booth is great, but even if it's a small event and you don't lug a whole canopy and table with you, you can stil bring your Paul literature and speak to the people about his platform.
3 - Always leave your spot clean and neat, and help others with the general cleanup.
4 - Find a calendar for your area to seek out other public summer and fall events that might accommodate this type of outreach. Some states are huge so you might want to stick with just your county, but in NH we can pretty much cover the whole state on any given weekend without just 10 or 12 people, and for very little investment.
5 - Send a written press release and photos to your local papers immediately after the event to publicize the win, and/or ask that it be posted on the group's website as well as on your Meetup or group website.

Jane Aitken, 35-Year Veteran Teacher
Ron Paul 2008 Consultant
GOP Woman of the Year 2009
Founder NH Tea Party Coalition (NOT AFFILIATED WITH ANY FAKE 2009 GROUP)
Founder USPEINetwork @ Yahoo (Nat'l Edu Activism Group)
Board Coalition of NH Taxpayers

Woo hoo!

Tack another one up, great job!

re: Straw Poll


I was actually there, so I'd be happy to share a report for how things went.

We actually found most of the local Republicans to be very receptive. There were some with whom we had disagreements, but we tried to focus upon what we shared in values, such as a respect for limited government, and stressed our desire to work together in the future where those causes we agreed upon lined up.

I don't know how many converts we won, but I know some of those votes were not from our group. Had we not come, we would have probably finished about tied by our reckoning, with eight or nine votes, and I think that's a promising sign. The reason I called the people out, however, is because the party was impressed by the motivation of our grassroots and their ability to come out.

More than anything, I think that made an impact with the local committee people, and I wanted that to be the case. They respect what we can do, and many of them are pragmatists, looking for a way to win the next election. We are convincing them that we would have coattails in 2008, and that message is working.

If I can offer a strong piece of advice to you, please network with your local Republicans. You can find support and when they see your grassroots network is out and active, it does make a difference. Whatever your personal beliefs, please realize the goal is getting Ron Paul elected, and we need to give as many people as possible the reason to come out and vote.

With this straw poll, I would be the first to admit it was a minor victory, but it was a victory nonetheless. From this, what we began doing was talking with the GOP candidates in attendance about perhaps having an event where our people could come and hear their message, and where others could come as well, as a larger venue. It builds a network, partnership, and a reason for us to win, and to win together.

Ron needs friends. He needs us working for him. But, he needs the party too. Help out.

Tom Kawczynski

Working together

Working together with the local Republicans is such an important point. And when they see the dedication and motivation of Ron Paul's supporters it has to hit home with them. Especially in an area that is a Democratic stronghold like Allegheny County. And when you come right down to it, there are more areas of agreement than disagreement with traditional conservatives.

You are so right about most of these people being pragmatists. That's why so many backed Bush. They saw that he had popular support despite the fact that his policies were not those of traditional Republicans. They wanted elected so they tagged along with Bush. Now that he is totally in the dumps where are they going to go? As soon as they get past the "Ron Paul can't win" attitude - and they will when they see our strong grassroots effort in action - we will get more and more allies from the local party powerbrokers.

That sounds

That sounds fantastic!
That´s the point. Not just winning the numbers game as outsiders and alienating the regulars in the process (anyone can do this in a poll with less than 50 voters) but showing that Paulites can be viable partners (if the candidates meassure up to our standards ;-) ).

Keep up the great work!

re: Straw Poll

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