Speed Reads

2016 Watch

Rand Paul dominates the CPAC straw poll again — but he's still not the 2016 GOP frontrunner

Chip Somodevilla / Gety Images

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) won a second-consecutive victory in the annual Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll Saturday, and it wasn't even close. Paul captured 31 percent of the vote, putting him well ahead of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) who came in second with 11 percent.

Unfortunately for Paul, CPAC's marquee event is largely an indicator of which candidate's supporters bothered to vote in a purely symbolic popularity contest, and it has almost no predictive value for future presidential primaries. Paul's father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), won the poll in 2010 and 2011, while other past winners who did not go on to win the White House, nor even the GOP primary, include Steve "flat tax" Forbes, Phil Gramm, Rudy Giuliani, and George Allen. Mitt Romney did win the poll four times, but he flopped in the 2008 GOP primary despite winning at CPAC that year and the year prior.