As primary season moves into high gear with upcoming votes in delegate-rich states Michigan and Michigan on March 8, and “winner take all” Florida and Ohio on “Super Tuesday II” on March 15, media pundits and bookmakers are looking for predictors to signal the eventual nominee of the party at the convention in Cleveland this July.

And while an unsurprising announcement from Dr. Ben Carson officially suspending his campaign for the nomination received some attention, the results of the straw poll at the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) were announced with great fanfare.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas won the poll with 40 percent compared to 30 percent for Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and only 15 percent for billionaire outsider Donald Trump. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has failed to gain traction during the campaign, came in fourth with 8 percent favoring him.

But Cruz should probably hold off on celebrating because the significance of the CPAC straw poll is questionable as anything other than a snapshot in time of the preferences of a very small percentage of conservatives; only 2,659 participants cast their votes in the poll.

Both Cruz and Rubio addressed the conference, while Trump made a last minute decision to forego his scheduled appearance in favor of making an appearance in Kansas the day before that state’s primary, and although his efforts failed to bring him a win in the state, two other big wins on “Super Saturday” have him still solidly in the lead among the four remaining candidates.

CPAC straw poll winners, drawn for 41-years since the inception of the group, have generally fared badly when it comes to the party’s nomination with only 4 in 20 going on to be the standard bearer in the general election.

Past CPAC winners include Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, but also Sen. Ron Paul and his son, Sen. Rand Paul .

Gov. Mitt Romney, who excoriated Trump in a speech on Thursday, won the poll three times, winning the Republican nomination once and, as Trump pointed out in a succinct rebuttal, failed to win the presidency.




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