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by
Bridget Johnson

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March 16, 2013 - 2:45 pm

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has won the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, edging out Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) by two percent in the three days of voting.

Paul, with 25 percent of the vote, follows in the footsteps of his father, who won CPAC straw polls in 2010 and 2011. The ballots had 23 candidate choices and voters wrote in another 44 names, including Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon.

Rubio had 23 percent.

Runners up were former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) with 8 percent, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) with 7 percent, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) at 6 percent, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) at 5 percent, pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) with 4 percent each, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at 3 percent each.

The number of CPAC attendees voting was 2,930, down from 3,408 in 2012. Forty-one percent of the voters were students. Fifty-two percent of all voters were in the 18-25 age group.

Others receiving write-in votes were former Rep. Allen West, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Judge Andrew Napolitano.

Seventy-seven percent of voters ranked limited government as their top issue, with 15 percent picking traditional values as most important and 8 percent checking national security.

Last year President Obama received a 19 percent approval rating from CPAC voters, but that plummeted to 2 percent this year. Congressional Republicans had 54 percent job approval.

Even though a consistent theme of CPAC has been railing against candidates seemingly delivered to them by the political establishment, Mitt Romney won the straw poll in 2007, 2008, 2009 and in the critical 2012 election year.

On other issues, votes favored spending cuts only to rectify the budget deficit by a whopping 72 percent. Sequestration as it stands wasn’t too popular, though, as 68 percent favored targeted cuts that would be kinder to the military instead of the current across the board cuts.

Fifty percent felt America’s allies should take care of their own defense, while 34 percent thought the U.S. should keep up its role as superpower.

And seizing on the Paulibuster message, 86 percent oppose using drones to kill U.S. citizens and 70 percent oppose drone use to spy on citizens.

Also read: Budget Smarts or Populist Message? CPACers Mull 2016

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (12)
All Comments   (12)
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Rick Santorum was first runner up? Really?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sen. Ted Cruz Outlines Battle Plan For Conservatives In Hard-charging CPAC Speech by Garrett Quinn, March 16th, 2013

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/sen-ted-cruz-outlines-battle-plan-for-conservatives-in-hardcharging-cpac-speech/
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Congratulations Rand. I guess this now means we must get ready to have Jeb Bush rammed down our throats in '16.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Nope, I promise you it will be Hillary. She's being prepped for something and what else is higher than Sec. of State ? You guessed it!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Liberty! I've endorsed Rand Paul for 2016 on twitter (with Marco Rubio as his running mate). twitter.com/JGcountry01
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Let's focus on the ideas. I for one think the war on drugs is a complete waste of taxpayer money. Freedom of choice is what the GOP is suppose to be about right?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This kind of thing is why CPAC is such an embarrassment. I flirted with the idea of going a few years ago, but when Ron Paul kept winning those straw poll things, NO.

I am not a drug user, and I am against drugs, so the libertarian thing is not for me.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This comment represents Americas #1 enemy, Ignorance. A TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE RIGHT HERE!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Rand Paul Wins CPAC Straw Poll: GOP Establishment, Their MSM Minions Hardest Hit!

Yeah, that means you, Roger Kimball (among others).

A straw poll for anything this far out means almost nothing, but...still nice to see, if for no other reason than to provide a handy sharp stick with which to poke and prod people like Kimball who think they can tell everyone what is or isn't "acceptable" conservative speech and who seem to have completely missed why Paul's filibuster resonated like it did with people of almost all political stripes (except with Beltway RINOs apparently) through complete cluelessness or who are just regurgitating what people like Rove tell them to write. P.S...nice to see Rubio finish second.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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