Rand Paul leads the pack of other potential GOP candidates in the 2016 race for president, according to the Mackinac straw poll conducted in Michigan over the weekend.
It’s the second presidential straw poll Paul has won this year.
Out of 526 people, 188 voted for Paul, giving him 36 percent of the vote. Gongwer News Service and Decider Strategies conducted the unofficial poll at the Mackinac conference over the weekend.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another party favorite with high approval ratings, came in second place, winning 16 percent of the vote.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush (Fla.), Gov. Scott Walker (Wis.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) trailed behind Paul and Christie.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.) won the Mackinac straw poll for the presidential race in both 2007 and 2011.
Paul, a freshman senator who’s been endorsed by the Tea Party, also came in first place in another straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March.
He has not said yet whether he will seek the GOP nomination for president in 2016, but for now, will again be on the ballot that year for senate. Paul announced his reelection campaign in May.
Analysts view Iowa’s Ames Straw Poll as the first presidential straw poll as a strong indicator of voters’ preferences. It’s conducted just a few months before primary season kicks off in the Hawkeye State.
Other GOP members who received at least one vote in the Michigan straw poll included: Gov. Nikki
Haley (S.C.), Gov. Bobby Jindal (La.), Gov. John Kasich (Ohio), Gov.
Susanna Martinez (N.M.), former Gov. Sarah Palin (Alaska), Gov. Mike
Pence (Ind.), Gov. Rick Perry (Texas), Sen. Robert Portman (Ohio), Sen.
Marco Rubio (Fla.), Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), former Sen. Rick Santorum
(Pa.), Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), Sen. John Thune (S.D.), Gov. Rick Snyder (Mich.),
former Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and former
Rep. Allen West (Fla.).