The American Conservative Union has just named Senator Rand Paul the winner of this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference Straw Poll. Paul (25%) narrowly beat Senator Marco Rubio (23%), former Senator Rick Santorum (8%), and Governor Chris Christie (7%).
Given the ubiquity of “Stand for Rand” stickers and signs at this year’s conference, I’m not surprised by Paul’s victory. I am wondering, however, whether the Kentucky senator’s win tells us much about his chances for securing the GOP nomination in 2016. For every eventual nominee like George Bush and Mitt Romney (CPAC Straw Poll winners in 2000 and 2012 respectively) there is a Jack Kemp (1986, 1987, 1993) or a Steve Forbes (1998)–or even a Ron Paul (2010, 2011)–who fired up the conservative base but couldn’t hack it in the primaries.