Cruz tops Values Voter Summit straw poll for third straight year

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Story highlights

  • The Texas hardliner scored 408 votes, or 35%, among those who voted at the conference
  • Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson took a distant second place with 204 votes and 18%

Washington (CNN)Sen. Ted Cruz topped the presidential straw poll for the third year in a row Saturday at the annual Values Voter Summit in Washington.

The Texas hardliner scored 408 votes, or 35%, among those who voted at the conference. In total, 2,700 religious conservatives registered to attend the summit held this weekend.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson took a distant second place with 204 votes and 18%. The rest of the leaderboard included former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 14%, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio with 13% and real estate mogul Donald Trump at 5%.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, however, placed 12th -- earning just seven votes.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, who announced the poll results, told reporters that Bush has been "challenged from the very beginning with conservatives."
"It would help him if he would actually show up and talk to value voters," Perkins said.
He said Bush doesn't appear to be having conversations with social conservatives.
"The problem with that is they make up about 40% of the primary voters," Perkins said.
The top five candidates in the straw poll all spoke at the event, as did South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.