Rand Paul Wins CPAC Straw Poll

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul won the Conservative Political Action Conference’s straw poll for the third year in a row Saturday, while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker placed second, reflecting his surging popularity.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush placed fifth, with just over 8% of the vote. Mr. Bush is considered a frontrunner for the GOP nomination in 2016 but is seen as too centrist by some in the party’s conservative wing. On Friday, Mr. Bush sought to woo conservatives at the three-day CPAC conference, addressing questions about his policy positions that are at odds with those of the GOP base, such as his support for the Common Core national education standards and for granting legal status to illegal immigrants.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and conservative neurosurgeon Ben Carson, both favorites of the young conservatives who attend CPAC every year, landed in third and fourth place in the straw poll, respectively.

Mr. Paul’s win, with nearly 26% of the vote, was widely expected and not necessarily indicative of the views of the party as a whole. Conservatives who vote in the CPAC straw poll tend to be younger than the rest of the party, and the conference draws a large share of libertarian-leaning Republicans who see Mr. Paul as a champion of libertarian ideals.

In 2014, Mr. Paul’s win was broader, with 31% of the vote. Mr. Paul’s father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, won the poll in 2010 and 2011 but has never come close to winning the GOP presidential nomination.

With 21% of the vote, Mr. Walker’s silver medal—up from sixth place last year—comes as two polls in the early-nominating state of Iowa show him topping the field.

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