Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second

Sen. Rand Paul demolished his competition in the 2014 Washington Times/CPAC presidential preference straw poll on Saturday, winning 31 percent of the vote — nearly three times the total of second-place Sen. Ted Cruz.

The poll also found a strong plurality of attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference believe marijuana should be fully legalized, with 41 percent saying it’s time to change the law and tax it. Another 21 percent said it should be legalized only for medicinal purposes, while just 31 percent said it should remain illegal in all cases.

In the presidential poll, Mr. Cruz’s 11 percent was a big improvement for the freshman senator, who won just 4 percent in last year’s straw poll. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson was third with 9 percent and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was fourth with 8 percent in results that signal growing discontent with the GOP establishment in Washington.

Indeed, CPAC voters now have an unfavorable view of Republicans in Congress, with 51 percent saying they disapprove of the job the GOP is doing on Capitol Hill. Just last year the GOP had a 54 percent approval rating, and in 2012 they held a 70 percent approval rating.

But a series of tough votes over the last few months that saw Republican leaders work with President Obama to boost spending and raised the government’s debt limit have deepened a rift between the GOP’s leadership on Capitol Hill and conservative activists around the country.

3 Comments - what are your thoughts?

  • Solid_Facts says:

    What this result really shows has little to do with what conservatives think. The real message here is that CPAC has been taken over by Libertarians. I mean, think about it…

    Over 40% want to legalize marijuana?!!!

    A total of over 60% want to legalize it in some form?!!!

    A RINO (really a Libertarian) wins the straw poll?!!!

    Of course, even if this conclusion is wrong, it’s a conclusion that feels right and you can bet that the RINO leadership of the GOP and the Democrats are excited at the possibilities. It means that they’ll be able to use these results to tie the TEA Party to the Libertarian Party. They know that if they can successfully tie the TEA Party to the Libertarian Party, it would be a death knell to the TEA Party. They’ll be able to easily marginalize the TEA Party, by association. You’ve heard of “guilt by association.” Well since the Libertarian Party is already seen by most people as a bunch of kooks, this will be “kooks by association.” If we don’t move to make it clear that CPAC is NOT a reflection of the TEA Party, we will lose the support of the less informed fence-sitting voters in the GOP, who think, “better a RINO than a Libertarian.” I don’t agree with that sentiment. But like it or not, many hard line Republicans do.

    Just as many TEA Party supporters will never vote for anyone named Bush, there are many more main-stream Republicans who will never vote for anyone named Paul and that’s the attitude that could destroy the TEA Party, if we allow the TEA Party to be associated with the Libertarian Party.

    In the end, what this tells me is that, while the mission of CPAC is still valid, they are at serious risk of becoming as irrelevant as the Libertarian Party, if they don’t get back on track. They can’t afford for the TEA Party to be seen as “kooks by association.”

  • awegweiser says:

    Nice to know the tiny minds at CPAC have chosen which tiny mind they wish to elect. That choice is a tad better than the real creepy Cruz and the imbecile Santorum was left in the dust.

  • victoriadelacy says:

    I do not think it is fair to judge a candidate by one straw poll. Rand Paul certainly gave a very powerful speech that day which was to his credit and he also filibustered the drones for 17 hours on the floor of the Senate on our behalf, but let’s not forget that Ted Cruz stood for us against the socialized medicine bill for over 21 hours on the floor of that same Senate, and has been a persistent voice for the conservative majority on everything from foreign relations to the economy ever since that day. All that Ted needs is a better speech writer and he is just as strong a candidate as Paul.

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