Green Room

Rand Paul wins CPAC straw poll

posted at 7:28 am on March 9, 2014 by

I know, I know — this comes as no surprise, since the Pauls père et fils routinely organize for CPAC straw polls. I missed last year, but I’m at a loss to recall when anyone else but a Paul won the straw poll when offered. (If I recall correctly, they didn’t hold one in 2012 because of the active primary.) This time, it might be a little different:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has won the Conservative Political Action Conference’s straw poll for the second year in a row.

Paul took 31 percent of the vote, a 20 point lead over second-place finisher Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). The freshman senator got 11 percent, but saw a significant uptick from just 4 percent last year.

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Conservative favorite Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon who’s amassed a grassroots following, was third with 9 percent. Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), who addressed the crowd this year after not being invited in 2012, was fourth with 8 percent support.

The biggest loser of the night was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Though he finished in second place last year with 23 percent, this year his support cratered and he finished in seventh place with just 6 percent support. The Florida senator saw his support among the conservative base erode following his support for comprehensive immigration reform.

Why different? Well, this is the first time that I didn’t see evidence of large-scale organization by Paul supporters. I saw a few “I Stand with Rand” hand signs around, and Senator Paul got a huge audience and reaction to his speech, but the college-student campaign in the hallways never materialized, as it had in previous CPACs. It’s possible that it existed more than was seen, but part of the point in previous CPACs was to overwhelm people with Paul supporters throughout the conference.

This result may, then, reflect more organic support for Paul among the grassroots than organized support, and that’s good news for Paul. Otherwise, though, no one’s going to take the finish order very seriously. I can’t recall the last time a CPAC straw poll predicted even a good primary campaign, so don’t expect anyone who’s seriously thinking about a 2016 run to get discouraged too much by a low finish.

Here’s the video of the announcement last night:

 

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Nice Dreams.

Murphy9 on March 9, 2014 at 7:41 AM

And this is one reason why CPAC has mostly become a parody of itself. Rand Paul has absolutely zero chance of wining the nomination.

“Freeping” polls does not in any way help the candidate or the party. One might believe past is prologue in that regard. But alas, my brothers simply can not satiate their need to grab every opportunity where a public poll can be overwhelmed with numbers and attempt to use it as a popularity referendum regarding the people’s will. It is not and frankly CPAC should desist from the practice. It has never been a useful indicative.

It is not, as billed, the conservative event of the year. It is mostly attended by a large den of Libertarians. Which is fine. We have much in common with Libertarians. They are just not Conservatives per se.

It is of course a nice gathering with good publicity and perhaps a box to check for some of the potential candidates to gain exposure. There are, for certain, many nice, good, well-meaning people in attendance. But that is it.

Personally, I look at the alleged current field and don’t see a winner. Who that person eventually is- I have no idea. But I just don’t believe he or she has been found yet.

Marcus Traianus on March 9, 2014 at 7:54 AM

Whatever. His father won straw poll after straw poll, didn’t do him any good.

BigGator5 on March 9, 2014 at 8:32 AM

And this is one reason why CPAC has mostly become a parody of itself. Rand Paul has absolutely zero chance of wining the nomination.

Marcus Traianus on March 9, 2014 at 7:54 AM

Looks like Rand Paul is winning to me.

Punchenko on March 9, 2014 at 8:33 AM

Whatever. His father won straw poll after straw poll, didn’t do him any good.

BigGator5 on March 9, 2014 at 8:32 AM

Rand Paul is not his father. And winning over the grassroots and activists is important — just ask Mitt Romney and his ORCA boondoggle.

Boots on the ground in a campaign matters. Boots on the ground in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina really matters.

Punchenko on March 9, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Looks like Rand Paul is winning to me.

According to the “polls”. Read, not according to the people who matter- electoral voters necessary to win a general election. Those are two highly different matters.

Rand Paul is a nice guy and I agree with a fair degree of what he states. He’s doing a great job where he is right now. That being said, I don’t see him appealing in a way that mobilizes enough voters too win a presidential election.

Marcus Traianus on March 9, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Rand’s appeal is more broad based than people realize. The problem for him is going to be that Obama is going to leave us in a place militarily that will not comport with a Randian foreign policy.

h a p f a t on March 9, 2014 at 9:30 AM

My list for next Prez is pretty short:
-Rand Paul
-Ted Cruz
-Sarah Palin
-Scott Walker

Dollayo on March 9, 2014 at 10:23 AM

And this is one reason why CPAC has mostly become a parody of itself. Rand Paul has absolutely zero chance of wining the nomination.

“Freeping” polls does not in any way help the candidate or the party.

Marcus Traianus on March 9, 2014 at 7:54 AM

But organizing, and demonstrating an ability to get your people out to an event, helps both the candidate and party.

And if you don’t understand that, you have no business discussing electoral politics…

JohnGalt23 on March 9, 2014 at 10:35 AM

My list for next Prez is pretty short:
-Rand Paul
-Ted Cruz
-Sarah Palin
-Scott Walker

Dollayo on March 9, 2014 at 10:23 AM

You know, this post makes me realize just how much better our bench is this time around than… hell, maybe for the last twenty years.

Maybe longer…

JohnGalt23 on March 9, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Each and every straw polls is won via stacking the deck. I don’t care which candidate wins it. Jon Huntsman came in a fairly close 2nd at the 2011 RLC in New Orleans after flying in a plane load of supporters.

Kermit on March 9, 2014 at 11:07 AM

BTW the Ronulans have gotten more pseudo mainstream. In 2012 they flooded the polls in Louisiana to elect delegates to the state convention, most were wearing coat and tie, ill fitting, but that was the word that went out to look more mainstream.

Kermit on March 9, 2014 at 11:10 AM

I’m at a loss to recall when anyone else but a Paul won the straw poll when offered

You’ve missed quite a few straw polls then over the past 8 years. Prior winners are:

1976: Ronald Reagan
1980: Ronald Reagan
1984: Ronald Reagan
1986: Jack Kemp
1987: Jack Kemp
1993: Jack Kemp
1995: Phil Gramm
1998: Steve Forbes
1999: Gary Bauer
2000: George W. Bush
2005: Rudy Guiliani
2006: George Allen
2007: Mitt Romney
2008: Mitt Romney
2009: Mitt Romney
2010: Ron Paul
2011: Ron Paul
2012: Mitt Romney
2013: Rand Paul
2014: Rand Paul

So over the past 8 years, from 2007 through 2014, it has either been Romney or a member of the Paul clan.

Stoic Patriot on March 9, 2014 at 12:09 PM

He certainly has managed to distinguish himself to a degree not equaled by any other candidate. His filibuster was galvanizing and single-handedly shifted the debate on presidential extrajudicial killing.

Paul, more than any other candidate, is capable of energizing the young, something we haven’t seen from a Republican in 30 years. It helps that he’s the only GOP candidate who has divested from the neocon imperialist ideology.

In my opinion, he’s the wave of the future.

will77jeff on March 9, 2014 at 12:17 PM

I like Paul ok- not my pick for 2016 yet, but I could vote for him.

My analysis- I’m just not sure a libertarian/ isolationist stance can withstand a competitive primary & general election in our current political climate.

Guess we will see, if he runs.

cs89 on March 9, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Ted Cruz’s image of strength, conviction and dynamism will play better in the primaries than Rand Paul’s new projected passivity and squishiness.

I so hope Cruz runs.

bluegill on March 9, 2014 at 3:31 PM

bluegill on March 9, 2014 at 3:31 PM

I like Cruz.

cs89 on March 9, 2014 at 4:49 PM

bluegill on March 9, 2014 at 3:31 PM

(cont.- somehow, comment posted before I was done composing…)

I like Cruz. He’s smart, seems principled, and has held some important positions.

However, he’s been in the Senate just a short time, and has never been a governor or in such an “executive” position.

I don’t think he’ll run this election for POTUS. If he does, and other primary candidates knock him for this lack of “experience,” how can he respond well in your opinion?

cs89 on March 9, 2014 at 4:52 PM

I like Rand Paul but it is really hard for me to align myself with the nut jobs his father had support from. Just the fact that they all support Rand now makes me think there is something wrong with him I am not seeing.

The Notorious G.O.P on March 9, 2014 at 7:02 PM

Paul, more than any other candidate, is capable of energizing the young, something we haven’t seen from a Republican in 30 years.
will77jeff on March 9, 2014 at 12:17 PM

That is what a lot of people that disregard the CPAC results are missing; it might not be a good barometer of upcoming elections, but it has traditionally been a good barometer of which way young Republicans are leaning. I’m encouraged that we have several Republicans that energize young conservatives, which is something the party has been lacking in the two decades.

midgeorgian on March 10, 2014 at 12:08 AM

Worth noting, the best result from an establishment candidate was Christie’s 9%. From 2009-2012, Mitt Romney never received less than 20%. The establishment’s field is divided and weak right now, 2016 is setting to be the best opportunity for a conservative candidate to prevail since 1980.

midgeorgian on March 10, 2014 at 12:14 AM

I like Rand Paul but it is really hard for me to align myself with the nut jobs his father had support from. Just the fact that they all support Rand now makes me think there is something wrong with him I am not seeing.

The Notorious G.O.P on March 9, 2014 at 7:02 PM

Yeah, but you’ve got to be able to unite around a candidate to win. If you support any candidate you will always find yourself aliened with those you might not completely agree with. Consider though that it is the ideas of the candidate that brought you together and not each other. If you’re looking for purity in politics, you will not find it. I hear what you’re saying, really I do, but as for me, at this point I’m willing to settle for one who will just support the Constitution and the idea of individual liberty. Just that much would be acceptable for me.

Dollayo on March 10, 2014 at 5:17 AM