NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul won the presidential primary straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday with 25 percent of attendees' votes, just ahead of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who also got 25 percent. The poll is not so much a sign of who will win in the next presidential election as a sign of who the base likes at the moment and how many Ron/Rand Paul voters show up. Ron Paul won in 2010 and 2011, Mitt Romney won in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2012. NPR notes that only two CPAC straw poll winners have gone on to be president.
When it was announced former Sen. Rick Santorum got 8 percent for third place, there were some boos. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came in fourth, with 7 percent, and got a louder, but still mixed, reaction. Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan came in fifth with 6 percent.
CPAC organizers were cheer that 52 percent of the votes were cast by people between the ages of 18 and 25. They were less cheered that 66 percent of the votes were male, though, "while it looks somewhat skewed," they noted CPAC votes have a gender gap every year.