Texas Sen. Ted Cruz scored a huge victory in a White House Dossier poll of readers’ preferences for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, garnering nearly a third of the vote, while former conservative darling Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida barely registered in the survey.
Cruz has emerged during his frist year in the Senate as an unflagging conservative leader on a string of issues, most notably gun control and immigration. Thirty one percent of voters in the poll, who mostly described them as conservative, said Cruz was their choice for president.
While Cruz’s star has soared, Rubio’s has dimmed nearly the point of invisibility. Rubio, who has drawn conservative ire for his banner role in pushing an immigration reform bill this year, garnered just three percent of the vote.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who achieved stardom among conservatives this year with a filibuster opposing the use of drone strikes against Americans on U.S. soil, scored second in the poll with 16 percent. And physician Ben Carson, who gained prominence in February by delivering a strongly conservative speech at the National Prayer Breakfast while President Obama was forced to look on, captured 10 percent of the vote.
Two well-regarded Wisconsin conservatives made solid if unremarkable showings. Rep, Paul Ryan, who ran for vice president in 2012, and Gov. Scott Walker tied with six percent of the vote – though Walker was ahead on votes. Moderate governors Jeb Bush of Florida and Chris Christie of New Jersey tallied four percent and three percent respectively. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal cornered just two percent, while Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman Jr., and Donald Trump each barely registered with one percent of the vote.
Sarah Palin was initially included in the poll but was removed early in the voting after a pro-Palin website directed its readers to vote for her. Before then, she had received only scant support.
The poll, which went up on the website Friday afternoon and was closed this morning, asked readers, “If the 2016 Republican presidential primary were held in your state today, for whom would your vote?”
The survey was not strictly “scientific” – participants were not randomly contacted, but instead allowed to vote on the website at their own initiative. But it probably provides a reliable snapshot of where conservatives – who comprise a majority of those who vote in the GOP primaries – stand at this point. A total of 3,370 readers cast votes, and Cruz maintained around a third of the vote nearly from the beginning.
Of those who voted, 2,583 also answered a question about their politics, with 56 percent describing themselves as “conservative,” 32 percent identifying as “very conservative,” and 11 percent saying they are “moderate.” Only one percent chose “liberal” or “very liberal.”
But the voters can hardly be described as unwilling to consider moderates. Thirty one percent of the 3,172 who revealed their favorite for 2012 said their “preferred” candidate in primaries was Mitt Romney. Fifteen percent said they liked Herman Cain, 13 percent favored Newt Gingrich, and another 13 percent were for Rick Perry.
A complete tabulation of the poll results can be found here.