LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Republican presidential contender Pat Robertson won a lopsided victory in a nonbinding straw poll at a Republican rally Saturday, then said rival candidate Vice President George Bush did not attend because "he is afraid to come against me in an honest contest."
Of 750 straw votes, Robertson received 453, or 60.4%. Kansas Sen. Bob Dole was a distant second with 112 votes, or 14.9%, and Bush was third with 86, for 11.5%.
Robertson, the only candidate in attendance, took aim at his foes in general and Bush in particular, saying: "In Hawaii, I had roughly 80% of the delegates that were going to come to the election next Thursday and they canceled the election. So, they either don't show up or they cancel the election or they try to use subterfuge to take the delegates away from me."
He has complained that Bush forces used improper tactics to win an apparent victory in Michigan caucuses that Robertson had hoped to win. And on Friday he talked of "banana republic" politics in Hawaii, contending this week's scheduled caucuses were postponed after it appeared he would do well.