Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rand Paul Wins CPAC Straw Poll


Sen. Rand Paul won the 2013 Washington Times-CPAC presidential preference straw poll Saturday, and Sen. Marco Rubio was a close second, easily outdistancing the rest of the field and signaling the rise of a new generation of conservative leaders who will take the Republican Party into the 2016 election.

Mr. Paul won 25 percent of the vote, and Mr. Rubio collected 23 percent. Former Sen. Rick Santorum was third with just 8 percent, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — who was not invited to speak at the three-day Conservative Political Action Conference — was next with 7 percent, and Rep. Paul D. Ryan, the GOP's vice presidential nominee last year, was fifth with 6 percent.

In one surprising result, political newcomer Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon whose speech at the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this year has become a conservative rallying point, came in seventh in the poll with 4 percent — tied with Sen. Ted Cruz.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker collected 5 percent of the vote — good for sixth place.

The poll offered 23 names of potential presidential candidates, and let voters write in a name if their choice wasn't listed.

Several high-profile conservative lawmakers didn't crack the top 10, including a slate of sitting governors, led by Virginia Gov. Bob MCDonnell, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Hayley.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was in ninth place with 3 percent of the vote, tied with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Last year, Mitt Romney won the straw poll, which came in the middle of a bruising GOP primary. Mr. Santorum took second place.

Looks like at this point it is a Rand Paul vs. Marco Rubio battle for the heart of the conservative movement.  The rest don't even come close.

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