U.S. Sen. Rand Paul on March 16 won the Conservative Political Action Conference presidential straw poll. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio placed second.
The poll was announced on the third day of the three-day conference held in Maryland, just outside D.C. that was attended by the nation’s top conservative leaders, including a number from Wisconsin.
Paul, of Kentucky, won 25 percent of the vote and Rubio of Florida had 23 percent.
Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum received 8 percent, followed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with 7 percent and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin with 6 percent.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker followed with 5 percent, then Dr. Ben Carson with 4 percent, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with 4 percent, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal with 3 percent, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with 3 percent, undecided with 1 percent and other candidates combined received 14 percent. Write-in candidates included Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon.
The official ballot had 23 names but CPAC attendees also offered write-in candidates, bringing the total number of names on the ballot to more than 60.
In a news release, Al Cardenas, the chair of the American Conservative Union, which presents CPAC, said, “It’s been a long-standing and fun tradition at CPAC National as well as our regional CPACs to poll the attendees and get their opinion on a number of important issues.”
The ACU said the poll provides a benchmark for how conservatives perceive key issues and their preferred candidates heading into the next election.