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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Defense of Liberty Straw Poll Results – Former Speaker, Tim Jones, Weighs In

With 2,188 responses, the 2021 Defense Of Liberty Straw Poll is closed and the results are in.

This was a rank choice poll meaning voters were not asked to vote for only their candidate of choice, but they were instead asked to rank the candidates in order of preference. The value to a rank choice poll is that it provides insight into how people would vote if candidates were systematically eliminated until the two remaining candidates faced each other n a run-off election. This is a straw poll – these numbers only indicate the pulse of the people participating at the time and anyone could have participated since the poll was made public. Emails, and device source information was tracked to limit multiple submissions.

Straw poll results from the Defense of Liberty Dinner 2021.

The results of the straw poll for the next US Senator from the State of Missouri are both expected and yet contain some surprises.

An early straw poll such as this (and it is early…many of you reading this may be extremely engaged in this race (and politics in general) approximately twelve months before the August 2022 primary but I can guarantee you that a large percentage of the population will not become engaged in this race until after Memorial Day of next year at the earliest) largely measures “Name ID” and not “Preference”. You must have Name ID first…people must know who you are, and who the other candidates are, before they arrive at actual preference…deciding one candidate over another.  Name ID must first be established and earned.  Once the race becomes truly competitive and candidates start defining themselves, and more importantly, contrasting themselves against the other candidates, clear preference lines are drawn and the race always tightens and firms up.

What this early Name ID straw poll shows, and what people should fully realize, is that the race is wide open and that even though the poll has a “winner” there is no clear front runner.

The two candidates that lead the pack, former Governor Eric Greitens and current Attorney General Eric Schmitt, should be leading because they arguably have the most Name ID as individuals who have each won statewide elections.  Attorney General Schmitt is running a smart, albeit careful and methodical, race right now and appears to be making all the right moves.  One of the unknowns right now is whether Governor Greitens’ apparently solid base will continue to erode (as it has been) over the next few months or whether his base will return back home.  A key could be how much truly damaging opposition research exists…and more importantly…who is willing to use it…and how much of it.

Mark McCloskey rolls in as a close third place choice because he has established what I would refer to as sudden or “meteoric” Name ID over the past year or so as a national figure owing to a very dramatic series of life events that have captured the attention of not only Missouri, but the nation.  The question for McCloskey will be, how to continue to capitalize and build upon that singular Name ID, largely as the only true “outsider” candidate in the race thus far (which I view as a true positive). 

The two Congressmen pull up a close fourth and fifth place because they also have significant Name ID as two very well known members of Congress within their Congressional Districts…but not too far beyond it.  It is interesting that Congressman Billy Long did pull such an early interesting level of support being that he has only been in the race for about a week…although as he himself has admitted, his eventual entry into the race has been one of the worst kept secrets in Missouri politics.  And announcing on Tucker Carlson did not hurt either. 

And do not count out Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler at all. As the only woman thus far in the race, she holds an extremely important demographic trump (no pun intended!) card. 

Finally, never count out Billy Long…a guy who won an 8 way primary for Congress 10 years ago when no one (except the really smart folks who supported him in Southwest Missouri who knew the writing on the wall) and who may actually pull that Trump (pun intended!) card out of his pocket.  If any of these candidates do end up earning the coveted endorsement, that will likely end up determining the final outcome….that is the ultimate “Trump Card” of complete and total Name ID…AND…Preference…dominance in the uber Pro-Trump Show-Me State.

Fmr. Speaker Tim Jones
Host – KWTO’s Wake Up Springfield with Tim Jones &

NewsTalkSTL’s Tim Jones & Chris Arps Show

One important take-a-way from this poll is how former governor Eric Greitens numbers look. While he ranked in the lead, he received less than any other candidate for the voters second choice. What this seems to indicate is that people either strongly support him or strongly oppose him, so it could be difficult for Greitens to win new votes unless they are already somewhat in his camp.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric Schmitt ranked 2nd in the poll but his numbers also demonstrate that he is more likely than any other candidate to pick up votes from his opposition – which is the name of the game in campaigning.

Mark McCloskey’s poll results are pretty balanced and Congresswoman Hartzler and Congressman Long both have about what you would expect for two candidates who’s name ID probably isn’t very strong beyond their districts.

Founder, Defense of Liberty
Club for Growth Fellow
Host – Paul Curtman Show 101.9 FM Noon-1pm Saturdays on NewstalkSTL

Paul Curtman is a veteran of the U. S. Marine Corps, an author, conference speaker, and statesman. For nearly 20 years, Paul has helped lead and develop leaders in the United States military, public service sectors, and business. Paul is a strong advocate for personal and economic freedom as well as the strength and integrity of the free market system. He is a Fellow at Club for Growth in Washington D.C. and currently lives in Missouri with his wife, Ruth, and their four children.


  1. I will eventually vote for the GOP candidate who seems to have the strongest chance to hold the seat. We cannot let another Marxist squeeze in. Trump must stay out of this primary. The bench is strong and there is no advantage for Trump to risk gumming things up in an otherwise probable slam dunk Senate race. Once again – Trump – stay out of this primary.

  2. I vote against politicians who allowed the bureaucrats to force business owners to submit to the Democrats, or go out of business. And politicians who allowed the Democrats to close Churches while keeping Lowes and Home Depot open. And politicians who forced citizens to loose jobs and homes and cars and go on The Dole and Charity to survive. And Politicians who allowed Democrats to force Masks and Experimental Vaccines into people. I”m enraged at what is going on.
    Any politician who did not make a name for him / herself by standing up against Fouci and the Democrats is just holding their job for the money and power.
    The governor of S Dakota, Florida, and senator from Kentucky, and Mr Jordan are heroes to me. They have the guts to stand up and fight.
    This MO governor is trying to please both sides.
    Does anybody know why the State troopers and Co deputies are pulling so many more people over for traffic this past week???

    • As to your last question – maybe things are going back to normal (pre Covid). For the past 18 months, I have heard that law enforcement was basically told to stand down. Various reasons to do with the virus – courts, DMV closed or extremely slow, exposure to people, political climate that discourages the rule of law. Maybe – we’re trying to go back to normal?

  3. The graphics are posted with different scales for each candidate. This gives a skewed visual representation of the results. At a glance it appears that the first place rankings were much closer among the top three. I’m sure it was unintentional, but I would like to see the graph rendered in the same scale for each candidate.


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