Virginia Republican activists Saturday voted in the first straw poll of the 2009 nomination campaign for attorney general. The poll was conducted at the annual Republican Advance, this year at The Homestead in Hot Springs, after a Saturday morning debate among the three candidates. The results: Ken Cuccinelli 47.8% (153 votes) John Brownlee 38.4% (123) David Foster 13.8% (44)

According to the Brownlee campaign, Republican Party of Virginia staff registered 530 Advance participants, translating into 210 undecideds. If one was to factor that into the calculus, the vote was:

Undecided 39.6% Cuccinelli 28.9% Brownlee 23.2% Foster 8.3%

Of course, there could be any number of reasons the 200-plus didn't attend the debate or vote in the poll. Straw polls are about as reliable as straw is sturdy. Still, it does show the GOP has a depth of qualified candidates and that despite the party's recent defeats, it hasn't discouraged good people from running for office or seeing the value in the party's nomination.