NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – The attendees of the Conservative Political Action Conference have selected their straw poll winner for presidential candidate in 2016, and once again, establishment candidates took a backseat to those figures conservatives believe more closely reflect their values.
The winner, with 31 percent of the vote, was Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
A total of 2,459 votes were tallied from among attendees who hailed from all 50 states.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas came in second, with 11 percent of the vote, followed by Dr. Ben Carson, with 9 percent, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with 8 percent, former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., with 7 percent and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, with 6 percent.
As WND reported, an earlier, independent straw poll of conservatives conducted by veteran activist Richard A. Viguerie also found Paul as the favorite presidential candidate for 2016, 12 points ahead of Cruz.
Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, said CPAC attendees “are rejecting the Republican establishment and its brand of Big Government ‘me-too-ism’ in favor of candidates who are authentic representatives of the grassroots conservative base of the party.”
Paul also topped Viguerie’s poll with 29 percent, followed by Cruz with 17 percent. There was a three-way tie for third between Carson, Rubio and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, with each garnering 10 percent.
“The fact that the top vote-getters in this year’s CHQ straw poll are young, limited-government constitutional conservatives bodes well for Republican chances in 2016,” said Viguerie.
He said all are “boat-rockers of a limited government constitutional conservative bent.”
The establishment Republican contenders, he said, are all at the bottom of the list.
Thursday at CPAC, Cruz called for the dismantling of President Obama’s agenda, including a complete repeal of Obamacare. Friday, Paul drew the conference’s most enthusiastic response to a presidential candidate, declaring, “I will not retreat an inch, and I will be heard.”
Here is Viguerie’s complete list:
- Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. (29 percent)
- Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas (17 percent)
- Dr. Ben Carson (10 percent)
- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. (10 percent)
- Gov. Chris Christie, N.J. (10 percent)
- Gov. Scott Walker, Wisc. (7 percent)
- Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. (2 percent)
- Former Gov. Jeb Bush, Fla. (2 percent)
- Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. (2 percent)
- Gov. Mike Pence, Ind. (1 percent)
Viguerie noted that former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal did not receive enough votes to remain on the leader board.
WND’s coverage of CPAC:
- Ben Carson: Time to kick people out of office
- Who tops CPAC independent presidential poll?
- God, values still primary for some CPAC speakers
- Rand Paul rocks CPAC
- Video: Anti-Obama filmmaker unloads on you-know-who again
- Tea party attorney: Feds interviewed IRS official
- Rick Perry: ‘Time for a little rebellion’
- CPAC speakers see GOP moment in 2014
- Mark Levin calls GOP elites the problem
- Former Obama agent warns president’s policies kill
- Cruz talks ‘social issues’ with WND
- Bolton: Obama ‘biggest security threat’
- Ted Cruz: ‘Liberty is under assault’
- Scandal hasn’t dimmed Christie’s star power