Ron Paul wins CPAC straw poll

Big news from CPAC. Not only was the event dominated by libertarians, Ron Paul takes home a surprising win the the annual Republican presidential nominee preference straw poll. Paul' 31 percent was nearly 10 point ahead of Mitt Romney's 22 percent, breaking his three-year winning streak. Sarah Palin was a distant third with just eight percent.

More numbers.
* Anti-Paul factions claim the Campaign for Liberty spammed straw poll with students. Nothing could be further from the truth. 48 percent of those who voted this year were students, a dropoff from last year when 52 percent of those who cast ballots were students. 54 percent were less than 25 years old, a drop from last year when they made up 64 percent.
* With 2,395 registered attendees voting, it is easily the biggest "turnout" for a CPAC poll, crushing 2009's total of 1,757.
* 80 percent of CPAC attendees say their "most important goal is to promote individual freedom by reducing the size and scope of government and its intrusion into the lives of citizens." Only nine percent said government should protect "traditional values" and only seven percent said government's most important goal is security.
* 52 percent said "reducing the size of federal government" was their most- or second-most important issue followed by "reducing spending." The "war on terror" got just 18 percent, "illegal immigration" just five percent and "stopping gay marriage" just one percent.

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