CPAC Straw Poll Results: Who Won? Who Lost?

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Every year, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) concludes with a straw poll. In past years, during President George W. Bush’s second term and President Barack Obama’s two terms, the highlight of the poll was determining who the conference’s attendees thought the best Republican candidate would be to run for president.

Past winners include:

2005: Rudy Giuliani
2006: George Allen
2007: Mitt Romney
2008: Mitt Romney
2009: Mitt Romney
2010: Ron Paul
2011: Ron Paul
2012: Mitt Romney
2013: Rand Paul
2014: Rand Paul
2015: Rand Paul
2016: Ted Cruz

Now, with a conservative president in office who is likely to run for a second term, it makes sense that CPAC has temporarily retired the front runner poll, as they did previously during President George W. Bush’s first term (2001-2004).

Instead, the poll, conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, focused mainly on issues. A gentle reminder: this poll is not reflective of the American electorate at large, but rather the conservative activists who attended CPAC, many of whom are college-aged or younger.

Here are the CPAC 2017 Straw Poll results:

Would you say things in the United States are going in the right direction or have they gotten off on the wrong track?

  • 44%: “Right direction”
  • 47%: “Wrong track”
  • 9%: Unsure

Do you approve or disapprove of the job that Donald Trump is doing as President?

  • 86%: Approve
  • 12%: Disapprove
  • 2%: Unsure

Do you agree with the following statement? “President Trump is realigning the Conservative Movement”

  • 80%: Agree
  • 15%: Disagree
  • 4%: Unsure

Most important issue?

  • 46%: “Economic issues, like the economy in general, jobs, taxes, government spending and balancing the budget”
  • 29%: “National security issues, like defeating radical Islamic terror and ISIS”
  • 13%: “Social and cultural issues, like life, family, children and religious freedom”
  • 11%: “Maintaining honesty and integrity in government”
  • 2%: Unsure

As a candidate, President Trump made several promises during his campaign. From the following, which campaign promise would you MOST like to see President Trump follow through on?

  • 33%: “Reforming the tax code”
  • 28%: “Repealing and replacing Obamacare”
  • 17%: “Building a wall on the Southern border”
  • 12%: “Temporarily halting immigration from terrorist countries”
  • 8%: “Developing a massive infrastructure package”
  • 2%: Unsure

Which of the following comes closest to your own personal opinion?

  • 67%: “Republicans in Congress should be doing more to SUPPORT President Trump”
  • 22%: “Republicans in Congress are doing ENOUGH TO SUPPORT President Trump”
  • 8%: “Republicans in Congress should be doing more to OPPOSE President Trump”
  • 3%: Unsure

Do you approve or disapprove of President Trump’s appointment of Neil Gorsuch to succeed Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court?

  • 94%: Approve
  • 2%: Disapprove
  • 4%: Unsure

Would you be more likely or less likely vote for a United States Senator who OPPOSED the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court?

  • 86%: Less Likely
  • 6%: More Likely
  • 5%: No Difference
  • 4%: Unsure

Now, if the Democrats filibuster Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the United States Supreme Court, would you favor or oppose Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lowering the vote threshold from 60 votes to 50, commonly called the “Nuclear Option,” in order to confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court?

  • 75%: Favor
  • 18%: Oppose
  • 7%: Unsure

Do you favor or oppose cutting off federal funds to any sanctuary city, county or public college that refuses to cooperate with state and federal officials to enforce current immigration laws?

  • 91%: Favor
  • 7%: Oppose
  • 2%: Unsure

Do you approve or disapprove of President Trump’s Executive Order that temporarily halts citizens from seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States until a more thorough vetting process is put in place?

  • 81%: Approve
  • 18%: Disapprove
  • 1%: Unsure

Do you approve or disapprove of President Trump using Twitter to communicate more directly with the American people?

  • 70%: Approve
  • 28%: Disapprove
  • 2%: Unsure

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore


Jon Schweppe

Jon Schweppe is the Director of Government Affairs for American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @JonSchweppe