Bush Wins CPAC Straw Poll

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

Arlington, Va (CNSNews.com)- Texas Governor George W Bush won the presidential preference "straw poll" conducted at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that ended Saturday in Washington.

The poll taken among 2,733 attendees over the three-day event had Bush garnering 42 percent of the vote. Coming in second was former Ambassador Alan Keyes who garnered 23 percent, publisher Steve Forbes had 14 percent and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) had 11 percent. Gary Bauer pulled in three percent and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) had one percent. Six percent of those polled said they were undecided.

Tony Fabrizio of Fabrizio, McLaughlin and Associates, a Washington polling firm that conducted the CPAC poll told attendees that for the first time in the firm's history of doing the polls, this one showed "someone who is actually leading in the national polls, actually won the CPAC straw poll and that George W Bush."

Fabrizio also noted this is also the first time, "that a Bush has won both of those surveys, the statistical poll as well as the CPAC straw poll while not in office. So, I think that bodes very well for us in next November's elections and for the (conservative) movement.

In polling among vice presidential nominees, Elizabeth Dole received a 20 percent approval rating. Coming in second was Ambassador Alan Keyes with 12 percent and Representative J-C Watts (R-OK) with 11 percent.

CPAC attendees were also asked to comment on presidential candidate Pat Buchanan leaving the Republican party for the Reform party, 64 percent of those polled disagreed while 33 percent agreed his decison.

On the question of the "Most Important Issues For Next President To Address," CPAC attendees said they thought restoring honesty and integrity to government was the most important, followed by cutting taxes, declining moral values, reducing wasteful government spending and rebuilding the military.

CPAC attendees believe the greatest accomplishment of the Republican Congress thus far is balancing the budget followed by impeaching President Clinton, welfare reform, Contract With America and increased federal education funding.

The greatest disappointment of the Republican majority in Congress, according to CPAC attendees was poor congressional leadership, followed by the failure to remove President Clinton through the impeachment process, insufficient federal government spending cuts, no enactment of a major tax cut and no reform of Social Security.