Rand Paul handily won the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday, one gauge of the Republican base’s mood less than two years before the 2016 primary season kicks off.
The Kentucky senator received 31 percent, far ahead of second place Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who received 11 percent. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson finished third with 9 percent, ahead of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who received 8 percent.
The announcement came at the end of the group’s annual three-day confab. Organizers said that 2,459 attendees voted on computer kiosks.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum tied for fifth place, with 7 percent.
Paul, who spoke at the conference on Friday, also won the 2013 straw poll. As the results were announced at a resort just outside the Washington Beltway, the crowd erupted and began chanting “President Paul” while waving “Stand with Rand” signs.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who finished second last year just behind Paul, fell to seventh place, receiving only 6 percent. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) finished eighth, with 3 percent – tying Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Four others pulled 2 percent: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.