Ted Cruz comes in behind Rand Paul and Scott Walker in CPAC straw poll

Sen. Ted Cruz came in third place behind Sen. Rand Pual and Gov. Scott Walker in the Conservative Political Action Conference’s annual presidential preference poll.

Pollsters announced Saturday that Paul won 25.7 percent of the votes in the annual survey, giving the Kentucky senator third consecutive win in as many years.

The Wisconsin governor came in second, with 21.4 percent while Cruz received 11.5 percent. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 11.4 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 8.3 percent. All of the other names listed received under 5 percent.

The three-day CPAC conference in suburban Washington draws many libertarian-leaning college students whose views and priorities differ significantly from the Republican Party at large. But it is nonetheless seen as a barometer of certain conservative activists' early leanings.

Pollsters said just over 3,000 attendees voted. Nearly half identified as between the ages of 18 and 25.

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Respondents said economic issues, like jobs and taxes, were most important to them in deciding whom to support as the Republican nominee for president in 2016.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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