The Chronicle is reporting today the results of a straw poll at the Tea Party Patriots’ “national policy summit” in Phoenix this weekend. The voting occurred in two categories, “live” and “online.” The winner of the live poll was pizza magnate Herman Cain with 21.98% of the vote. The winner of the online poll was Ron Paul, with 49.6% of the vote. The results of the live poll: Cain 21.98% Pawlenty 15.87% Paul 15.04% Palin 10.08% Romney 6.45% Bachman 5.62% Gingrich 5.29% Huckabee 4.63% Daniels 4.46% Trump 3.14% Perry 1.82% Barbour, Huntsman, and Santorum brought up the rear. The winner of the online poll, by an overwhelming margin, was Ron Paul. Paul 49.65% Cain 12.46% Palin 8.92% Huckabee 5.88% Gingrich 4.76% Pawlenty 4.76% Romney 4.46% Bachmann 3.65% Daniels 1.82% Perry 1.01% Barbour, Huntsman, and Santorum received less than 1%. # # # # The thing that I find most interesting about this poll is that the Tea Party is marginalizing itself. No organization that chooses Herman Cain and Ron Paul as its favorites for president is going to play a major role in choosing the Republican nominee. The Chronicle’s take on the poll is “good thing he’s not running.” I would say: What makes you so sure he isn’t running? Maybe not for president, but why not the number-two spot on the ticket?. Perry is positioning himself to come out of this legislative session with the credential of having closed Texas’s budget gap with $27 billion in cuts when other states have raised taxes. That is going to be a powerful message. Add to it Perry’s ability to stir up crowds, as a former Aggie yell leader. He fits the job description for a vice-president: intensely partisan, ideologically unyielding, unrestrained in his criticism of an opponent, looks good on TV, knows how to fire up a crowd, won’t upstage the nominee.