NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland—Sen. Ted Cruz was the top choice for President of the United States among conservatives at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the iconic annual gathering of thousands of conservatives across the nation.
CPAC 2016 was held March 3–5 at National Harbor, Maryland, on the southern tip of the nation’s capital. Participants cast votes in a straw poll, the results of which are announced at the conclusion of the three-day conference.
Cruz was the first choice for president of 40% of attendees, besting all his competitors by double digits.
In what may be a bigger surprise to many, however, Sen. Marco Rubio garnered 30%, but Donald Trump took only 15%. The Florida senator—who is now seen as the GOP establishment’s favored candidate—beat the outspoken Trump by a 2-1 margin in an anti-establishment audience.
Gov. John Kasich, the unapologetic moderate candidate in the race, rounded out the remaining candidates with a mere 8%. (Remaining votes went to candidates who are no longer in the race, or even Democrats.)
The straw poll also asked each voter who his or her second choice for president would be. On this question, Rubio barely edged Cruz, 29% to 26%. Kasich garnered 18%, and Trump was left in single digits at 9%.
Ken Klukowski is legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.