Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Ron Paul spoke to a nearly packed hall of about 1,000 Republicans in Iowa on Saturday – reiterating frequent campaign themes of increased individual liberty and reduced government spending and entanglement in foreign wars.
Moments after the Republican presidential candidate walked out, over half the audience walked out as well.
The mass exit of seemingly Paul supporters suggests the Texas congressman stands a good chance of winning the National Federation of Republican Assemblies' presidential straw poll. Results will be announced later on Saturday.
Paul is a perennial favorite at these types of non-binding vote tallies that gauge a candidate's popularity.
The congressman kicked off the event, only one of two presidential candidates to appear in person. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum followed Paul. Anita Perry, wife of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, also addressed the gathering. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich delivered a video message to the group.
For his part, Paul restated libertarian qualms with the government: the Federal reserve is dangerous for the nation's economic health, Americans should be wary of the government's privacy violations, there's been a steady erosion of liberties, and the U.S. spends too much.
Paul's most sustained applause came when he pressed that the U.S. should disengage from virtually all involvement in wars abroad.
"I fear much more the erosion of the protections of our liberties here at home and the erosion of our economy than I do from any foreign adversary," Paul said.
The congressman continued by criticizing the U.S. "dropping drones in Pakistan," and the ongoing war in Afghanistan.
"Maybe our policies are flawed," Paul said. "I think it's time for us to come home and mind our own business."
That elicited sustained applause from the audience. This despite many conservatives frequently stressing that the U.S. should maintain a strong and active military, both in the U.S. and abroad.
Recently, many of Paul's fellow presidential candidates – including Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich – decried President Obama's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year.
"This country needs to wake up and quit lying to itself," Paul said. "Whether its on the economics or foreign policy."
–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN