Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the GOP’s most recent vice presidential candidate, finished with a combined total of less than 10 percent of the vote in the Family Research Council (FRC) Values Voter Summit straw poll.
Rubio finished in fifth place with 5 percent of the vote, while Ryan finished in sixth place with 4 percent of the vote. The three biggest issues for the 762 straw poll voters were religious liberty, life, and Obamacare.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) finished overwhelmingly in first place, taking in 42 percent of the straw poll’s vote. Dr. Ben Carson, an ardent opponent of Obamacare, and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, a social conservative, finished tied for second place with 13 percent of the vote each.
Rubio has taken a beating among the GOP’s rank-and-file voters for his stance on immigration reform and continues to be unable to return to the top tier of conservative leaders. Ryan, who also supports comprehensive immigration reform, has recently become the face of the GOP establishment’s willingness to surrender to President Barack Obama on Obamacare and the ongoing fiscal fights over both the budget and the debt ceiling.
A high-ranking conservative Capitol Hill staffer told Breitbart News that Ryan’s fiscal stances seem to be out-of-step with the values of conservatives. “I don’t think he did himself any good by his latest proposal, mostly proved himself to be out of touch with the current trend,” the staffer said in an email. “We are hoping the majority of the majority will enjoy being on the right side.”
When FRC Action president Tony Perkins was asked by Breitbart News what he thought of Ryan’s performance in the straw poll, Perkins said, “He wasn’t here personally. Clearly, I think it helps if you’re here and able to speak. Now, he did speak via video, but I just think the competition is steep. We had really, really great speeches by some really great leaders. It’s hard to compete with that by video message so that’s what I would attribute it to.”
Ryan had previously stated he would join the summit but ended up sending in a video speech in order to attend negotiations with the White House instead.
Perkins also said he thinks the ongoing fiscal negotiations that Ryan is leading on behalf of House Republicans “factors in quite significantly.”
“As I was just talking with Ted Cruz to call him to give him the results of the polling, and I do that every year, I will call the individual and give them a heads-up on who wins the straw poll, and so I called and talked to Ted,” Perkins said. “He was very encouraged by the response he received here and very surprised and excited to hear the results that he won the straw poll. It simply served to encourage him and bolster him in the stand that he is taking, that he is representing and defending the families of this country that will be negatively impacted by Obamacare and keeping his word to voters that he would come here to repeal Obamacare.”
“So I think it says that those base voters are not only not punching those who are doing what they said they were going to do, but rewarding them for doing so,” Perkins said.
Perkins added he does not think immigration “divides the social conservative voters as much as some would like it to.”
“There certainly are differences in opinion of how we address it and how we approach it, but I do not think that in my numerous conversations regarding this issue that it divides social conservatives as much as some think,” Perkins said. “I think this [straw poll] is more a reflection of who has been out front on one of the most pressing issues; as I mentioned, Obamacare finished at the top three of our issues. Religious liberty was at the very top, which Obamacare is a direct assault on.”
“Who’s been leading the charge on that? And that answer would be Ted Cruz,” he stated.
Cruz also helped lead the charge, along with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), in the U.S. Senate against the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill and remains opposed to any pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants in America.
Perkins added that this straw poll shows the GOP establishment must begin representing populist ideas of what the conservative base wants. “That [the establishment] is the same mindset that brought us the results in 2008 and 2012,” Perkins said. “These issues that the vast majority of the Republican voting base care about were ignored.”
“The numbers, and I’ve seen the analysis of the 2012 election specifically, the post-election analysis, and the Republicans said this is where they’re going and they wanted to reach the middle and they did, but they stepped over the base,” he explained. “What you’re seeing here consistently is the president is mobilizing and exciting his base on many of these issues and in many of these elections the Republicans have not. They’ve not been able to do that.”