Rand Paul Takes Poll At CPAC 2015, Jeb Bush At No. 5

By  //  February 28, 2015

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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz finished in third place

ABOVE VIDEO: Rand Paul’s speech at CPAC 2015. (Video for SpaceCoastDaily)

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was announced as the winner of the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll on Saturday, the third year in a row he has carried the event.

The announcement was met with cheers of “President Paul!” from the audience.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush took the No. 5 spot.

The Polling Company’s Kellyanne Conway told the CPAC audience that 42 percent of the voters were students and a plurality of voters were between the ages of 18 and 25.

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Supporters of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. cheer as he speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md., Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. (AP Photo by Carolyn Kaster)

Jobs and the economy were the most important issues for 52 percent of straw poll voters, while some 30 percent ranked national security most highly and only a smattering of voters valued social issues most highly.

Only 27 percent of voters said marijuana should remain illegal (with 40 percent supported full, untaxed legalization), and strong majorities were opposed to government collection of phone call data and interventionist foreign policy — facts that might help explain the libertarian Paul’s win.

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US Republican Senator from Kentucky Rand Paul waves after speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, outside Washington, on February 27, 2015. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

“Our party is filled with constitutional conservatives who have chosen to stand with me for a third consecutive straw poll victory,” Paul said.

“Since President Ronald Reagan, the (conference) has been the gold standard on where conservatives stand. The constitutional conservatives of our party have spoken in a loud and clear voice today.”

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As National Journal noted, the CPAC straw poll winner more often than not winds up not getting the GOP presidential nomination (though in the cases of Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan, they won the straw poll several times and were passed over in the party nomination before becoming the GOP nominee in a later election cycle).

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Paul’s supporters have touted his two prior victories in the CPAC straw poll as evidence of his strong grassroots appeal, and reports circulated Saturday that Bush was trying to rig the poll by bussing in supporters — reports that likely wouldn’t hold water if the poll was truly meaningless.

David Bossie

David Bossie

“Every year serious candidates come to CPAC and organize and get people to come here for the specific purpose of voting for them in the straw poll,” Citizens United President David Bossie told the Hill.

“Does it at the end of the day really mean anything that you can have the money and an organization to bus people in? Probably, because that means you have money and an organization. It’s important.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz finished in third place with 11.5 percent of the vote, followed by retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson in fourth with 11 percent.

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