WASHINGTON – Sen. Ted Cruz (R, Texas) handily won the presidential straw poll at Family Research Council Action’s tenth annual Values Voter Summit on Saturday, claiming 35 percent of votes cast. Dr. Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon also running for president, came in second with 18 percent.
Donald Trump, the current GOP frontrunner, placed fifth with 5 percent, and Jeb Bush, widely considered the establishment favorite for the nomination, ranked twelfth with 1 percent.
“The straw poll sends a message that values voters are looking to support candidates who not only understand the threats to our freedoms, but will boldly lead the way in standing up for and defending these freedoms,” Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins said.
Cruz stands at sixth place in national polls, according to the Real Clear Politics Average, with just 6.5 percent. Donald Trump still holds the lead, with 24 percent, although his numbers have fallen recently. Bush stands at fourth, with 9.8 percent.
“Social conservatives don’t expect Republicans to win every fight but they are tired of GOP leaders entering political battles waving a white flag,” Perkins explained, perhaps referring to Cruz’s recent op-ed decrying “The Republican Party’s Surrender Politics.”
The audience cheered loudly when Sen. Marco Rubio announced House Speaker John Boehner’s upcoming resignation, signaling a strong anti-establishment mood at the summit. Cruz’s victory confirms this.
Nevertheless, Perkins praised every candidate who attended, saying that each one “made unequivocal stands on both the social and security challenges facing our nation, which clearly resonated with the values voters.”
While 2,700 people were registered for the summit, only FRC Action members who were present at the event were allowed to vote. Cruz received 408 votes out of 1,161. Cruz and Carson finished first and second, respectively, for the third year in a row.
In the top five, Cruz received 35 percent (408 votes), Carson got 18 percent (204 votes), Huckabee won 14 percent (166 votes), Rubio took 13 percent (148 votes), and Trump carried 5 percent (56 votes). Democrat Candidate Bernie Sanders (D, Vermont), a self-described Socialist, took 5 votes, beating both Chris Christie (R, New Jersey), and Linsdey Graham (R, South Carolina), who got 4. One single voter chose Hillary Clinton — perhaps it was a glitch.
Ben Carson won the vice-presidential straw poll for the second year in a row, taking 25 percent (288 votes). Carly Fiorina proved a close second, with 21 percent (239 votes). Ted Cruz took third, with 14 percent (163 votes), and Marco Rubio fourth with 13 percent (155 votes).
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