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Rand Paul wins conservative poll, Scott Walker close 2nd

February 28, 2015 GMT
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md., Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md., Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md., Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

OXON HILL, Maryland (AP) — Sen. Rand Paul has won the Conservative Political Action Conference’s annual presidential preference straw poll.

Pollsters announced Saturday afternoon that Paul had received 26 percent of the votes in the annual survey, giving the Kentucky senator his third consecutive win in as many years.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came in second, with 21 percent. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz came in third in the contest with 11.5 percent, followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 11.4 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 8.3 percent. All of the other names listed received under 5 percent.

Paul and Walker are both expected to contend for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, but neither has formally announced his candidacy.

The three-day CPAC conference in suburban Washington draws many libertarian-leaning college students whose views and priorities differ significantly from the Republican party at large.

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But it is nonetheless seen as a barometer of certain conservative activists’ early leanings.

Pollsters say just over 3,000 attendees voted. Nearly half identified as between the ages of 18 and 25.

Respondents said economic issues, like jobs and taxes, were most important to them in deciding whom to support as the Republican nominee for president in 2016.

Paul represents the party’s libertarian wing that favors limited government. Walker has won praise from conservatives for his efforts to curb labor union rights in Wisconsin. Bush is considered the favorite of the party establishment.

The results are nonbinding and reflect only the views of the registrants who chose to vote during the conference.