Jonathan Garthwaite

During a 52-hour voting period Tuesday through Thursday, over 250,000 votes were cast by Townhall.com/HotAir.com readers in the largest and most secure digital poll of conservatives ever.

Newt Gingrich won with 36.5% of the vote. Mitt Romney was second with 18.8%. Michele Bachmann received 17.7% and Ron Paul received 17.4%. Rick Perry finished up the pack with 9.5%.

1st place votes
Newt Gingrich: 36.5%
Mitt Romney: 18.8%
Michele Bachmann: 17.7%
Ron Paul: 17.4%
Rick Perry: 9.5%

Townhall.com/HotAir.com readers were also asked for their 2nd choice. Michele Bachmann was the favorite second choice.

2nd place votes:
Michele Bachmann: 25.4%
Newt Gingrich: 20.6%
Mitt Romney: 20.4%
Rick Perry: 18.2%
Ron Paul: 15.4%

Of those that picked Gingrich as their top choice, a plurality picked Romney as their second with Bachmann close behind.  Of those that picked Romney as their top choice, nearly half picked Gingrich as their second with Bachman also close behind.

Bachmann voters preferred Rick Perry as their second and Rick Perry voters preferred Michele Bachmann as their second.  

The results suggest that while Gingrich is currently the choice of conservatives, this election is far from decided. With 45% of readers sticking to their support of Michele Bachman, Ron Paul and Rick Perry, and with three weeks to go before Iowa, it appears the race hasn't become any more solidified than it was a month ago. I guess we should expect anything different after the summer and Fall we had.

Where Bachmann and Perry voters if their candidate falters may decide this race in the end.

Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman were not included in the primary due to their support in an average of national polls being less than 5%. Polling was conducted among registered readers of Townhall.com and HotAir.com and each email ballot was digitally encrypted to work only once.

Stay tuned to Townhall.com and HotAir.com to follow the Republican primary as it marches through Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida and onto Super Tuesday.

One never knows -- maybe we should hold another one of these primaries right before Florida or Super Tuesday to see if conservatives are finally coalescing around a single candidate.

*Editors' note: an earlier version of this article reported switched the results of Bachmann and Paul. This has been corrected.


Jonathan Garthwaite

Jonathan Garthwaite is General Manager of Townhall.com/HotAir.com