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Which '08 Candidate Is Winning the Beer Vote?

Sure, voters have been known to choose presidential candidates for reasons as seemingly superficial as good looks, religion or that time the candidate winked at them from the back seat of a limo. But have voters ever chosen the next president of the United States based on who'd be more fun to drink some suds with?

While the Hillary Clintons, Barack Obamas, John Edwards, Mitt Romneys, Mike Huckabees and Rudy Giulianis of the world are busy trying to convince voters to choose them based on experience or change or grand policy proposals, others are asking: Who would you rather have a beer with?

It's a fair question. And it's one the National Beer Wholesalers Association -- in a cheesy but fun publicity stunt -- is putting to voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Voters in Iowa cast "ballots" in person Wednesday night at the Legends American Grille in Des Moines. And the voting continues on a new Web site the beer lobby created --

The site doesn't separate the candidates into Democratic and Republican fields. But so far, Barack Obama is winning the beer vote overall with 13 percent vote, followed closely by Rudy Giuliani at 12 percent. John McCain and Ron Paul are tied at 10 percent, followed by John Edwards and Fred Thompson at 8 percent.

Seven percent of respondents chose Mike Huckabee -- a teetotaler, mind you -- as the presidential candidate they'd most like to have a beer with. Six percent picked Hillary Rodham Clinton, and 5 percent each chose Dennis Kucinich (another candidate who doesn't drink) and Mitt Romney, a Mormon who, of course, doesn't drink either.

Chris Dodd , who has been known to throw back a few, gets 4 percent of the beer vote, while Joe Biden, Bill Richardson and Duncan Hunter each get 3 percent of the beer vote. Mike Gravel is in last place in the beer poll, with just 2 percent of respondents so far saying they'd like to have a beer with him.

Craig Purser, president of the beer wholesalers lobby, says beer could be that single issue that makes or breaks the election. "With all the rigors of a campaign -- attack ads, phone calls, direct mail -- Americans know sometimes it just comes down to who you want to have a beer with. We hope this campaign reminds voters that at the end of the day, while issues are very important, so is conversation, civility and character. Having a beer with someone represents getting to know someone better, and that's what the campaign season is all about -- getting to know these candidates better."

Cheers to that.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  January 3, 2008; 3:16 PM ET
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