Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzHospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan To counter China, the Senate must confirm US ambassadors The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown MORE (R-Texas) won the Values Voter Summit straw poll on Saturday, cementing his title as the de facto leader of the conservative movement.
Cruz took 42 percent support, while physician Ben Carson and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum both took 13 percent support — but Carson came in ahead of Santorum by one vote. Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul: Chris Cuomo firing 'a small step toward CNN regaining any credibility' GOP anger with Fauci rises Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default MORE (R-Ky.) came in fourth with six percent and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense & National Security — US tries to deter Russian invasion of Ukraine Senate eyes plan B amid defense bill standoff To counter China, the Senate must confirm US ambassadors MORE (R-Fla.) took fifth with five percent support.
Cruz's win comes as little surprise as his Friday-morning speech drew heavy applause and his deft management of a handful of hecklers ensured his speech overshadowed the other rising conservative stars that spoke after him.
And he's emerged in recent weeks as the face of conservatism after taking the lead on a strategy to defund ObamaCare, which ultimately led to the current government shutdown.
Cruz was, notably, one of the few speakers to mention the shutdown in his remarks on Friday — and urged conservatives to keep up the fight against ObamaCare.
The VVS straw poll offers a snapshot of where the conservative movement stands every year, but Family Research Council Tony Perkins warns not to take the results as a predictor of the 2016 presidential landscape.
"Its relevance is more focused on what people are attracted to. It's not necessarily a predictor of who's going to be the presidential candidate," he told The Hill on Friday. "I think it's more, what are the qualities that really excite people. And it comes down to leadership, who is providing bold leadership."
At this point in the last presidential cycle, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) won the straw poll.