Rick Perry lost a key test vote in Florida to businessman Herman Cain today, just days after he faltered in a debate in Orlando. Cain captured 37.1% of the vote at the Presidency 5 straw poll in Orlando, with Perry coming in second with 15.4%. Mitt Romney came in third with 14%, and Rick Santorum followed with 10.88%. While all declared candidates were on the ballot, the first-tier candidates did not compete.
Perry bought hundreds of activists' breakfasts on the sidelines before heading to Michigan. Romney and Michele Bachmann, who finished eighth with 1.51%, both left Florida before the voting began, and their campaigns discounted the straw poll's role in the campaign. The results were unlikely to shuffle the campaign's standings. Instead, they were mostly a popularity contest among the delegates selected by local party organizations. Still, Perry said skipping the straw poll was a blunder. "I think that's a big mistake. I think it's very important," Perry said, citing its history: Previous straw polls have predicted the GOP nominee. Ronald Reagan won in 1979, George HW Bush in 1987, and Bob Dole in 1995. The Republican Party of Florida, however, has not organized the test vote in recent years. (Read more straw poll stories.)