CPAC straw poll list shows wide array of 2016 potential
March 14th, 2013
09:11 AM ET
1 year ago

CPAC straw poll list shows wide array of 2016 potential

(CNN) - A few high-profile conservatives and potential White House hopefuls who weren't invited to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference nevertheless made it onto the ballot for the closely-watched 2016 presidential straw poll at the annual gathering.

While New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell are notably absent from the speakers list, both appear on the 23-name ballot obtained by CNN for the next GOP presidential nomination. (McDonnell will still appear at CPAC on a panel but will not be a featured speaker.)

The straw poll is often considered a way to gauge where the conservative base stands on potential Republican nominees. Last year, when the conference took place in February, then-candidate Mitt Romney won the poll at a crucial point in the Republican primary. The former governor of Massachusetts took 38% of the vote, while former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum received 31%, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was at 15% and then-Texas Rep. Ron Paul stood at 12%.

In previous years, however, Paul was the winner of the poll. The libertarian-learning Republican came out on top in 2011 and 2010.

In 2009, months after the 2008 election, Romney took first place, with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal coming in second and Paul tying for third place with Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee.

READ MORE: Major conservative conference comes at crucial time for GOP

Other non-CPAC speakers on this year's ballot include New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez; South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley; former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who now heads Purdue University; Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a top surrogate for Romney's presidential campaign last year; Ohio Gov. John Kasich; and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Also of note, freshman Sen. Ted Cruz, who rose to fame for his grassroots support in a heated Texas primary and run-off last year, made the list. Given that he was born in Canada with an American citizen mother and a Cuban father, his eligibility for president has been subject to debate.

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson interestingly appears on the poll–the only one on the list who hasn't been elected to public office. He generated buzz after he advocated conservative policies on taxes and health care right in front of President Obama while keynoting the national prayer breakfast last month.

- Carson will be a guest on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday starting at 9 a.m. ET.

Check out the rest of the list below:

1. NH Senator Kelly Ayotte
2. AZ Governor Jan Brewer
3. KS Governor Sam Brownback
4. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson
5. NJ Governor Chris Christie
6. TX Senator Ted Cruz
7. Former IN Governor Mitch Daniels
8. SC Governor Nikki Haley
9. LA Governor Bobby Jindal
10. OH Governor John Kasich
11. NM Governor Susana Martinez
12. VA Governor Bob McDonnell
13. Former AK Governor Sarah Palin
14. KY Senator Rand Paul
15. IN Governor Mike Pence
16. TX Governor Rick Perry
17. OH Senator Rob Portman
18. FL Senator Marco Rubio
19. WI Congressman Paul Ryan
20. Former PA Senator Rick Santorum
21. SC Senator Tim Scott
22. SD Senator John Thune
23. WI Governor Scott Walker
24. Other _______________________
25. Undecided


Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Chris Christie
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @REPUBLICAN

    Yes, yal are the greatest for murdering our troops in senseless illegitimate wars, bankrupting our nation, inflating our national debt, and stifling the middle class and the poor. As far as your pointless comment about our President, this President's legacy is already cast in stone as the GREATEST President in U.S. history. Don't like it? Then go drink some Kool-Aid.

    March 14, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  2. PJ

    That whole list makes me shudder. Ted Cruz??? There is a lot more to be concerned about this guy than
    his "eligibility to be President".

    March 14, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    As a progressive, this article pleases me greatly! The only person on this list who has a shot at winning is my Governor, Chris Christie. However, he brings a lot of baggage along. He can be offputting due to his surliness and many consider him a blowhard. In addition, people are concerned about his obesity. He would have a hard time beating Hillary, Mrs. Obama, or Joe Biden in the general election. The rest of these stooges are simply comic relief!

    March 14, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. Mark in Seattle

    That list tells me the gop is really intent on self destructing. Fine by me!!!

    March 14, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  5. Patrick in Wisconsin

    Rick, before you label all Democrats as socialists (do you even know what that word means? Probably not), lets look at the facts. As of today, the Dow is twice what it was when Obama took office. There are actually fewer government employees since Obama took office. Obamacare dramatically EXPANDS private insurance since they now have mandated customers. Until sequestration, which Republicans unanimously agreed to, Obama LOWERED taxes for middle and lower class Americans while taxes on the wealthy didn't change at all. There's none of this government takeover of American society that you keep claiming has happened. If Obama's a socialist, he hasn't done a very good job.In fact, the complete OPPOSITE has happened.

    March 14, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  6. CB

    Wide array of 2016 potential? The writers of this article really should look up the meaning of the word "potential"

    March 14, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  7. Wake up People!

    All I have to say is rest up Hillary. It's going to be a cakewalk!

    Hillary 2016!

    March 14, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. hui wang

    A list of joke

    March 14, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. MBSeattle

    Stop it can we focus on the here and now of our goverment. Wasted words.

    March 14, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  10. Vince

    Given their list of speakers this year, I'd say history is continuing to repeat itself....if they continue this way, I'd start getting ready for 4 years of Mrs. Clinton.

    March 14, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. bombastus

    At list Christie made the list. Where's Huntsman? He was about the only candidate last time that stood a chance of beating Obama. CPAC is living in la-la land if they are serious about backing a winner with one these people...except, maybe, Christie minus a few pounds. Voters worry about the health of their President.

    March 14, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. Matt

    I have never commented anywhere online about what the Democrats ought to do in the next election. In fact I only comment on Republicans lately, because, as a former member who has since joined the Constitution Party, my Republican friends keep asking why I wouldn't support McCain, Romney, you know, those establishment Republicans who try to be "centrist" to attract the independent voters (and failed).

    March 14, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
1 2