Election 2020

Cruz, Rubio Dominate CPAC Straw Poll

(AP Photo/Scott Morgan)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) dominated the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, offering a hint about a potential reason behind Donald Trump’s last-minute cancellation of his scheduled Saturday morning address here.

Cruz won with 40 percent of the vote, with Rubio second at 30 percent of the vote.

Trump had the support of 15 percent of CPAC attendees, Ohio Gov. John Kacish has 8 percent, and Ben Carson drew 2 percent support despite dropping out of the race this week.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was favored by 1 percent as was former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Hillary Clinton got 0.3 percent of the CPAC vote.

Asked to name a second choice for president, Rubio scored the highest with voters.

The top vice-presidential picks in the poll were South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Kasich and former GOP presidential contender Carly Fiorina, who spoke at the Saturday night CPAC dinner.

A total of 2,659 CPAC attendees voted in the straw poll, with an average age of participants about 35 years old. Two-thirds said they were looking for a classic Reagan conservative president when asked between a choice of this, a libertarian conservative, or a populist conservative.

Economic issues ranked as most important among those voting. Just 11 percent picked social and cultural issues as their top concern.

Asked for dealbreakers, 38 percent of straw poll voters drew the line at expanding Medicaid under Obamacare, 36 percent wouldn’t back a candidate who supports government’s use of eminent domain for private-sector projects, and 33 percent said no to a candidate who supports a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Seventy-two percent said GOPs in Washington are not fighting hard enough.

Eighty-two percent supported Senate Republicans’ block on a Supreme Court nominee, while 12 percent said GOPs should break with Senate leadership and force a vote on President Obama’s pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia.

Cruz’s win breaks a three-year winning streak by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in the CPAC straw poll.

Paul won last year with 25.7 percent of the vote, followed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker with 21.4 percent.