Initial CPAC GOP Straw Poll Results

February 28, 2015  - The black smoke has cleared in the Potomac Ballroom of the Gaylord National Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland.  The straw poll of thousands of conservative zealots who attended CPAC this week, has yielded a worthy candidate to go forth and attempt to wrest control of the White House from the Dems.  There was much fire and brimstone cast upon ISIS, common core, Obama’s pending nuclear development deal with Iran, US immigration policy, unbridled government spending and of course, Hillary. However, unlike the selection of a Pope, the results of the CPAC straw poll will not serve to unite a Republican party which – for the most part – does have a common voice.   

I find it ironic that CPAC– a conference which has become the Right’s annual homage to Ronald Reagan and everything he stood for – does not embrace one of the central tenets that ol’ Number 40 championed:  the 11th Commandment – Thou shall not speak ill of any fellow Republican. 

Whether a Tea bagger, an establishment Republican, a Main Streeter, or a RINO, there is one thing that all Republicans seek….  – a victory in November 2016.  With a crowded Republican field, the Dems are counting on the Reps to cannibalize their own:  exposing as many inconsistent statements, unusual alliances, and skeletons as possible.  The Republican candidates fail to see that the doubts that they cast upon one another weaken the entire corps.  And for a group that is touted as a bevy of Bible thumpers, the 2016 aspirants have already forsaken the charge of Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.”

And so, let us turn to the CPAC straw poll results….

Rand Paul 2 CPACNot surprisingly, the winner was Rand Paul.  CPAC’s favorite son has won the CPAC poll for the last three years.  What WAS surprising is that second place went to Scott Walker only 4% points behind Paul.  Show belonged to Ted Cruz.  Dr. Ben Carson and Jeb Bush round out the top 5.  The basement was occupied by Lindsey Graham and George Pataki – however neither attended CPAC.  The lowest-rated CPAC speaker was Former UN Ambassador, John Bolton; however he has a lot of company in the sub 3% contingent including pre-bridgegate hopeful, Chris Christie.

Notably, Carly Fiorina, who sits on the board of the American Conservative Union (which hosts CPAC) emerged as a possible contender with a scathing speech directed at Hillary Clinton.  If the Reps were wise, they would broker a backroom deal that imposes a moratorium on barbs against Fiorina (who has no elected experience) in order to utilize Carly’s ability to stand stiletto-to-stiletto with Hillary as a way to tear at Clinton for the next 20 months while allowing Fiorina to remain in the media spotlight.

3007 voters participated; percentages are listed below:

25.7        Sen. Rand Paul
Gov. Scott Walker
Sen. Ted Cruz
Dr. Ben Carson
Former Gov. Jeb Bush
Former Sen. Rick Santorum
Sen. Marco Rubio
Donald Trump
Carly Fiorina
Gov. Chris Christie
Former Gov. Rick Perry
Gov. Bobby Jindal
Former Gov. Sarah Palin
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee
Former Ambassador John Bolton
Sen. Lindsey Graham
Former Gov. George Pataki
0.7          Other

The problem for the Reps was that no plurality exists – not even from a group that is on the right edge of the Republican spectrum.  And that has been the fly in the ointment since 2008.  If this group cannot solidly back a candidate given a fairly narrow political conservative agenda, how will the Republicans identify a champion who can get them to 270 electoral votes in 2016?  If the Grand Old Party aspires to a seat in the Oval Office, the playbook cannot be adapted from The Lord of the Flies.  Instead, the path forward must come down to the party’s ability to control the will to power of many of the potential candidates, synthesize the messaging and reconnect with the growing number of Reps-turned-independents/Libertarians.  They forgot that in 2008 and 2012. 

Maybe the third time will be a charm for them in 2016, but after analyzing the results of the CPAC straw poll and listening to the party rhetoric for two days, if the Republicans want to win in 2016, candid conversations need to occur which involve the potential entrants and some will need to be cheerleaders, not combatants.

Comments and thoughts welcome. 


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4 Responses to “Initial CPAC GOP Straw Poll Results”

  1. Hollie Says:

    A great call to rational action, complete with literary and biblical allusions, to kick off the election season. As for the Democratic front runner, you have only begun to count the skeletons in that candidate’s closet.

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