Though the Republican establishment puts a premium on a presidential candidate’s ability to raise money, that is the quality that Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) attendees said was the least important to them in a presidential candidate.
Just 2% of CPAC attendees who participated in the 2015 straw poll said a candidate’s “ability to raise money” was the most important quality they were looking for in a GOP presidential candidate.
That may explain why former Florida Governor Jeb Bush–who has vowed to raise $100 million in the invisible primary from donors who favor amnesty for illegal immigrants, gay marriage, and abortion–finished fifth in the CPAC straw poll with 8.3%. Bush finished behind Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who won the straw poll with 25.7%, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (21.4%), Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (11.5%), and Dr. Ben Carson (11.4%).
Bush performed poorly even though there were reports that he was trying to rig the straw poll by busing in supporters from K Street. No issue divides the permanent political class and the donors who love them from Main Street than illegal immigration. And 77% of those surveyed said they wanted Congress to use its power of the purse to try to defund President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty.
CPAC attendees were asked which of the following is the most important quality for a Republican presidential candidate to possess:
- Ability to win states Obama won: 11%
- Ability to raise money: 2%
- Strong communications skills: 12%
- Solid conservative record: 39%
- Previous executive experience: 11%
- Previous experience in elected office: 5%
- Appeal to independent voters: 17%
Kellyanne Conway, whose Polling Company administered the poll, said 3,007 attendees responded and 47% of respondents were between 18-25 years of age.