OXON HILL, Md. — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has won the Conservative Political Action Conference’s presidential preference poll.
The overwhelming win is purely symbolic, but reflects the Republican senator’s popularity among conservatives who typically hold outsized influence in the GOP’s presidential selection process.
Paul captured 31 percent of the vote. He won the poll last year as well.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz finished second place with 11 percent, followed by neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
None of the Republicans in the poll have formally entered the 2016 race yet.
The victory was announced Saturday evening as the annual conservative conference wrapped up. Thousands of activists flocked to suburban Washington for the three-day gathering.
Nearly 2,500 hundred activists voted. They were younger and more male than the typical electorate.
STEVE PEOPLES, Associated Press