The streak remains unbroken.
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.
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)
The libertarian Republican carried 25.7 percent of the 3,007 total votes, organizers said.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was close behind with 21.4 percent of the vote, while Sen. Ted Cruz and Dr. Ben Carson both carried roughly 11 percent of the vote.
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
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.
The question remains: Does the CPAC straw poll matter?
Some were quick to dismiss the poll well before the results were even announced.
Can we all agree that the CPAC straw poll results have literally zero bearing on who the next GOP nominee will be?— Brian Walsh (@brianjameswalsh) February 28, 2015
The one thing the CPAC straw poll winner and I will always have in common is we won't be president in 2017.— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) February 28, 2015
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).
On the other hand, 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.
“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.”
This story has been updated.
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