Florida tea partiers would be most enthusiastic if former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum or former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich* won the Republican presidential nomination, according to a straw poll conducted Sunday night by the Tea Party Patriots organization.
The straw poll was conducted following a conference call during which Santorum, Gingrich, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and answered questions and made their pitch to the call’s participants. Texas Rep. Ron Paul was invited to participate, but was unable to do so.
Callers were asked to rank their enthusiasm for each of the candidates receiving the nomination on a scale of one to five, with five being the most enthusiastic.
For Santorum, 35 percent of respondents said they would be the most enthusiastic, 19 percent were fairly enthusiastic, while 26 percent were in the middle. Just 20 percent said they would be unenthusiastic or mostly unenthusiastic.
Callers were also enthusiastic about a Gingrich nomination, and 35 percent of the callers said they would be “most enthusiastic,” and 24 percent saying they would be in the “fairly enthusiastic” category.
Romney’s support, on the other hand, was “balanced across the board,” with each level of enthusiasm receiving a similar number of votes – about 20 percent of voters in each category.
Enthusiasm for Ron Paul receiving the nomination was low, with 50 percent of people saying they would be at the lowest end of the enthusiasm scale, and just 11 percent saying they would be very enthusiastic.
Approximately 6,000 tea partiers were on the call, and 600 voted in the straw poll. The results were read off hastily at the end of the call.
Tea Party Patriots also took a more direct straw poll to measure the level of support each candidate had for hte GOP nomination, but the organization ended the call before releasing the results. Those numbers will be released Monday, according to the Tea Party Patriots twitter account.
This article was updated after publication. A previous version of this article incorrectly said that there would be the most enthusiasm if Santorum won the nomination; in fact there would be equal enthusiasm for either Gingrich or Santorum.