CPAC attendees were overwhelmingly skeptical of government use of drones to either spy on or to kill Americans, and strongly in favor of cutting spending to solve the federal debt problem, rather than raising taxes as part of a solution. But the voters did not like the composition of the budget sequesters, with 68 percent saying they didn’t approve of across-the-board trims.
But it is the presidential preference poll that draws the most attention, and this year’s results will be no exception.
In one surprising result, political newcomer Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon whose speech at the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this year became a conservative rallying point, came in seventh in the poll with 4 percent — tied with Sen. Ted Cruz.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker collected 5 percent of the vote — good for sixth place.
The poll offered 23 names of potential presidential candidates, and let voters write in a name if their choice wasn’t listed.
Several high-profile conservative lawmakers didn’t crack the top 10, including a slate of sitting governors, led by Virginia Gov. Bob MCDonnell, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was in ninth place with 3 percent of the vote, tied with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who appears to be testing the presidential waters, was not on the ballot, at his own request.
“Bush — we don’t need that,” said KCarl Smith, founder of the Frederick Douglass Republican Movement. Mr. Smith said he planned to vote for Mr. Jindal, though he was also a fan or Mr. Rubio. He said Dr. Carson grabbed his attention. “Again, not another Bush — that’s it for me.”