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Rand Paul wins CPAC straw poll, Jeb Bush 5th, Marco Rubio 7th

via @LightmanDavid

Rand Paul won the Conservative Action Political Conference straw poll Saturday, but Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker continued his surge to the top tier of potential Republican candidates with a strong second place showing.

Paul, a U. S. senator from Kentucky, won for the third straight year. But his 25.7 percent total was lower than his 31 percent showing last year. Walker won 21.4 percent.

Walker was a favorite of the audience here, along with Paul. Some 3,007 people voted in the survey, conducted during the final three days of CPAC, which ended Saturday.

The result is another boost for Walker, who vaulted into national prominence in January with a fiery speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit, a gathering of Republican activists. He has since led Iowa Republican presidential surveys.

Paul, though, retains a sizeable following. His father, former Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, won the straw poll in earlier years.

Finishing third and fourth were Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, 11.5 percent, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, 11.4 percent.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who was often booed by the audience, was fifth at 8.3 percent.

No one else got 5 percent. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum got 4.3 percent, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, 3.7 percent, real estate developer Donald Trump, 3.5 percent, former business executive Carly Fiorina, 3 percent, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, 2.8 percent, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 1.1 percent and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, 0.9 percent.

--DAVID LIGHTMAN, McClatchy Washington Bureau