It should tell you something that the winner of the CPAC straw-poll--used as a crude gauge of the conservative favorite for president--had been Mitt Romney for three previous years. This year, despite murmurs of a Romney revival, the most votes went to anti-tax libertarian Ron Paul. Paul won 31 percent, Romney 22 percent, and Sarah Palin clocked in way behind with 7 percent of the votes.

The first reactions are quick to dismiss Paul's victory, arguing it's not an accurate reflection of establishment sentiment or Paul's odds in 2012.
  • Sends Message to Palin--From Students   Ben Smith, Politico notes the poll for "What there wasn't: A groundswell for Palin." He argues this wasn't a representative sample because only a third of CPAC attendees voted, and "half the voters were students."
  • No Message--Paul Always Wins Polls  Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs yawns at another victory for Paul's "anti-war isolationist paleolibertarian" worldview. He dismisses the results, writing "There's never been a poll Ron Paul couldn't win, unless you count a presidential primary race."
  • Proves Worthlessness of Straw Polls  Erick Erickson of Red State reports the news with many undercutting phrases. He follows up news of Paul's win saying, "Winner rarely get the eventual GOP nomination." He notes the CPAC crowd booed at the news and concludes, "We can thank Ron Paul for showing just how worthless straw polls are."
  • Bodes Further Irrelevance of CPAC Polls  Jonathan Martin of Politico writes Paul-supporters made a particular push to win the straw poll. What's more surprising, he suggests, is "the inaction of others" including Romney. He concludes, "These results won't augur well for future cpac s polls."