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. Rudy NYC

    Another noteworthy name missing from the ballot, former FL Gov. Jeb Bush.

    March 14, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  2. rs

    Historically the CPAC Presidential polling has meant virtually nothing. If anything, it (and the Iowa Straw Poll) are responsible for the clown car effect that was the last Presidential go-round wherein the only sane candidates were rapidly evaporated, the ranks swelled with kooks, and the final candidate had to express more than 900 lies in front of various microphones to simply carry his party.

    The GOP would do well to stop using the echo chamber as a reality check and go talk to the non 1% American population for where they should be.

    March 14, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  3. Yanni

    He made a name for himself by insulting the US president at the Annual Prayer breakfast where the event was traditional set to pray together. That is what qualifies to be the leader of the GOP/Tea party in the age of Obama.

    March 14, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  4. Mack

    The only one with a shot is Christie. The rest of those nuts are way too far right.

    March 14, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  5. Yanni

    Ben Carson, he made a name for himself by insulting the US president at the Annual Prayer breakfast where the event was traditional set to pray together but not against each other. That is what qualifies to be the leader of the GOP/Tea party in the age of Obama.

    March 14, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  6. Al-NY,NY

    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.
    -----

    even though he wouldn't get the nomination, i bet there wouldn't be a peep from the righties about "birth certificates" and citizenship for this clown. CPAC is a joke. the only candidate who stands a chance in 2016 is the all-you-can-eat-buffet Chris Christie. Anyone else, much to "conservatives" dismay is gonna get trounced even worse than Flip Flopney or McCain

    March 14, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    Help me out here folks. Isn't CPAC where the "speakers" bring their own "delegates" who are then required to pay for the privilege of voting for their particular candidate? There are so many "straw polls" in GOPerville that sometimes one gets a bit confused and lost in all the little nuances being sold to the highest bidder.

    Which in itself is an extremely profitable GOPerville theme ... keeping GOPers and GOPettes scratching their head in confused bliss.

    March 14, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  8. Matt

    I love reading all this unsolicited advice from people who would never vote for a Republican no matter who the nominee was anyway.

    March 14, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. Matt

    I personally like Ayotte-Jindal, but I doubt the liberal elites will let them beat their establishment candidate. Not sure who that will be, but invariably Republican delegates will be told they need to nominate a moderate to "attract centrists." Because, you know, that has worked so well in the last couple elections!

    March 14, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  10. rs

    Matt-

    Well intil Reagan, I was a Republican. My thought was who in their right mind would vote for someone with "Bedtime for Bonzo" in their resume. He tripled the debt and began sending our nation down the "cut-taxes-and-spend" path. Since thn the GOP Presidents have been, well, interesting. Their candidates of late horrific. These are NOT Conservatives in the realm of Rocjefeller, Eisenhower or even Ford, no these are not even fiscal conservatives, these are social warriors. Nothing more, nothing less.

    I WANT a choice when I go to the polls. The Republicans because of their twisted ethos, and "purity" tests (like CPAC) can only field low-IQ radicals like Rand Paul, or dullard plutocrats like Romney. They are no choice for America because they don't like America. They fawn over the rich, and read Ayn Rand (God knows why her novels are crap, and dream up ever more regressive social policy, anti democratic positions and anti-Constitutional nonsense.).

    March 14, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  11. SafeJourney

    And yet CPAC did not invite the most popular republican in the U.S., Gov Christie. The CPAC convention is quickly becoming the convention of losers and kooks

    March 14, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  12. Rick McDaniel

    The Dem socialists have a strangle hold on America, and they have no intention of giving it up. This country is unlikely to recover from Obama, in my lifetime.

    March 14, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  13. Russ

    Hahahaha......there are definitely some laugher's on that list. For instance Nikki Haley. She has a whooooole lot of bagage. Not sure the White House is ready for someone that lives an "alternate" life style and has so many affair accusations out there. Then there's Palin....OMG you have to be kidding me!!!

    March 14, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  14. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Missing from the list:

    Pastors Charles Whorley
    Pastor Terry Jones
    Judge Tom Head
    Ted Nugent
    Donald Trump
    Rush Limbaugh

    March 14, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  15. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Herman Cain
    David Patreaus

    March 14, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  16. rs

    Matt

    I personally like Ayotte-Jindal, but I doubt the liberal elites will let them beat their establishment candidate.
    ____________________________________
    Sorry to inform you, but there are no "Liberal-elites" in the GOP. As for "establishment"- well they did that with Romney- and that didn't turn out so well. How about settling for someone sane?

    March 14, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. a little sad

    Jeb Bush 2016! We owe it to the Bushes to give them another shot at tanking the country!

    March 14, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  18. rs

    Rick McDaniel

    The Dem socialists have a strangle hold on America, and they have no intention of giving it up. This country is unlikely to recover from Obama, in my lifetime.
    _____________________________
    Funny, we say exactly the same thing about you Facists and G.W. Bush!

    March 14, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  19. rs

    a little sad

    Jeb Bush 2016! We owe it to the Bushes to give them another shot at tanking the country!
    ________________________
    Be careful what you ask for- you might get it!

    March 14, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  20. rs

    You just have to love that CPAC would even list "16-second" Jan Brewer from my state (AZ.) as something even remotely Presidential. She doesn't even hold a college degree!

    March 14, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  21. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I don't think I'd vote for any of those names. They don't seem to understand the needs of the country.

    March 14, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  22. Al-NY,NY

    Matt

    I love reading all this unsolicited advice from people who would never vote for a Republican no matter who the nominee was anyway.
    ----

    does that mean if I go to "Michelle Obama's Vogue cover" or some other Democratic-leaning story I WON"T see a comment from you?

    March 14, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  23. REPUBLICAN ARE THE GREATEST

    All are better then the BIG LOSER in the white house now. Please save America and vote Republican.

    March 14, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. Randy, San Francisco

    What a sorry looking list. Looks like a replay of 2008 and 2012. It is the same old cast of snake oil salesmen and saleswomen. If this is all the new Republican/Tea Party has to offer, Hillary Clinton will win in 2016!

    March 14, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  25. dave

    It will be difficult to find anyone who will be able to stop the world from changing and keep it frozen in a place where conservatives will feel comfortable. A comic book hero would be the best bet.

    March 14, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
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