Values Voter Summit

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Values Voter Summit
Limit Government • Reduce Spending • Champion Traditional Values • Protect America
Frequency Annual
Years active 2006–present
Participants 2,000

The Values Voter Summit is an annual political conference for American social conservative activists and elected officials from across the United States.

The Values Voter Summit is hosted by the Family Research Council with numerous conservative organizations sponsoring or otherwise participating in the conference. In the most recent summit, 38 organizations participated and 2,000 people were in attendance.[1] The summit is usually held in September or October of each year.


The first summit was held in 2006. Among the key issues for values voters defined by the organizers are opposition to abortion and to same-sex marriage, and a strong national defense.[2][3] The Los Angeles Times describes the conference as combination rally, revival meeting, political convention and bazaar."[4] The conference typically includes appearances from Republican potential presidential candidates vying for the support of the crucial social conservative base of the party.[5][6][7]

Featured guests at the summit have included right-wing commentators Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, in addition to numerous elected officials and other conservative figures. Co-sponsors of the event included other Christian political action groups, such as AFA Action (part of the American Family Association), the Heritage Foundation, Liberty University, Liberty Counsel and Gary Bauer's organization American Values.[8]

Starting with the second annual conference in 2007, the summit began holding its own presidential straw poll, similarly to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and other conferences. The winner of the first presidential straw poll, of about 5,776 votes, was former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who would later go on to be the runner-up of the 2008 primaries before winning the nomination in 2012.

After a "civil war" over the inclusion of the gay Republican group GOProud led many conservative organizations and activists to boycott the 2011 CPAC, Politico reported that a group of conservative figures were beginning to organize to turn the Values Voter Summit into "a full-fledged rival to CPAC" by expanding its focus to include economic and national security issues.[9] Several of the boycotting organizations are already sponsors or participants in the Values Voter Summit.[9]

The 2011 conference was held on October 7-8, 2011. All of the major 2012 Republican presidential candidates spoke except Jon Huntsman, Jr. All eight of them were subsequently included in the presidential straw poll, where Texas congressman Ron Paul won. However, his win was discounted by the Family Research Council. Businessman Herman Cain finished second, followed by former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.

The 2013 and 2014 conferences both saw the same two candidates in the top two slots for the presidential straw poll for the first time ever, with Texas senator Ted Cruz and former neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson in first and second, respectively. In 2013, Cruz had 42% to Carson's 13%, and in 2014, the gap shortened with Cruz taking only 25% to Carson's 20%.[10][11] In addition, the 2014 poll marked the first time in the history of the summit that a vice presidential poll was held in addition to the presidential contest. Carson won that poll with 22%, followed by Cruz's 14% and Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal's 11%. With these two polls, Cruz set two records for the summit presidential polls; the first person to win more than one poll, and the highest percentage ever won in any poll since it started in 2007 (with his margin of 42% in 2013).

Presidential straw polls[edit]

A presidential straw poll has been held each year since 2007:

Overall, Mitt Romney (2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011) and Mike Huckabee (2007, 2009, 2010, and 2014) have appeared in more VVS polls than anyone else, with 4. Six individuals have appeared twice: Ron Paul (2007 and 2011), Mike Pence (2009 and 2010), Newt Gingrich (2010 and 2011), Rick Santorum (2011 and 2013), Ted Cruz (2013 and 2014), and Ben Carson (2013 and 2014). If the 2014 Vice presidential poll is counted, then both Carson and Cruz's totals increase to three each.

2011 Ron Paul incident[edit]

After it was announced that Ron Paul had won the 2011 straw poll with 37% of the vote, it was reported that many of his votes came from the over 600 people who registered just before the poll closed on the second and final day of the conference.[19] Family Research Council president Tony Perkins all but discredited Paul's victory, saying, "I don’t think Ron Paul is truly reflective of where values voters stand."[20] He also said, "Ron Paul bussed in over 600 people not to attend the conference but to hear his speech and vote. I give them credit for being organized."[20]

See also[edit]


2007 Values Voter Summit
James Dobson 
Newt Gingrich 
Mitt Romney 
John McCain 


External links[edit]