NASHUA, NH – Rand Paul was the most preferred presidential candidate of the Republican contenders as voted by nearly 800 activists attending the Republican Liberty Caucus National Convention, held in New Hampshire, home of the first in the nation presidential primary.

The straw poll was conducted using an alternative voting method called “approval voting,” which allows voters to approve of one or more of the current Republican presidential candidates. This method of voting allows voters to indicate the candidate or candidates that they would support if the election were held today. As a preference poll this may produce results where more than one candidate receives over 50% approval.

Rand Paul was the preference of 57.1% of the convention’s attendees. Ted Cruz came in second with a 51.2% preferred rating. No other candidate received more than 17.9%.

While this does not represent the RLC’s final endorsement, it does indicate a strong preference of the attendees for these candidates. The RLC’s official endorsement process requires two-thirds of its state chapters to approve a candidate. The RLC officially endorsed Ron Paul for President in 2012.

“The large turnout for this event and the enthusiastic participation of attendees in this poll shows the rising tide of Liberty in the Republican Party,” said Matt Nye, National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. “Liberty Republicans have clearly identified these two candidates as the best in a crowded field. They are an inspiration to Republicans around the country and we look forward to a great crop of candidates at every level, ready to go to Washington and restore limited government and a respect for individual liberty.”

National frontrunner Donald Trump received 6.9% approval in the poll. Ben Carson received 17.9% and Carly Fiorina received 10.1%.

“New Hampshire is the jumping off point for the nomination campaign and with this choice the people have clearly chosen liberty,” said Aaron Day, Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire. “We look forward to seeing a lot more of both Rand Paul and Ted Cruz in the next few months and I’m confident that our state candidates will do well with one of them at the top of the ticket.”

The full results of the poll are:

Candidate Votes Percent
Rand Paul 445 57.1%
Ted Cruz 399 51.2%
Ben Carson 139 17.9%
Carly Fiorina 79 10.1%
Marco Rubio 75 9.6%
Donald Trump 54 6.9%
Bobby Jindal 51 6.6%
Rick Santorum 27 3.5%
Mike Huckabee 25 3.2%
John Kasich 17 2.2%
Chris Christie 14 1.8%
Gil Fulbright 12 1.5%
Jeb Bush 9 1.2%
George Pataki 6 0.8%
Lindsey Graham 4 0.5%
Vermin Supreme 3 0.4%
Jim Gilmore 3 0.4%
Mark Everson 2 0.3%

Andrew Jennings of the Center for Election Science, a non-profit group which conducted the poll, observed that “Approval voting is a better way to run elections because it doesn’t force voters to abandon their ideal candidate to vote for a compromise—they can vote for both. In a general election it would prevent spoilers and let all candidates see their true level of support. In crowded elections like the current Republican primary, it would stop the vote splitting which is distorting the race and would allow us to see how the voters really feel about each candidate.”

Unlike a “first past the post” traditional straw poll where participants vote for only ONE candidate, using an alternative “approval voting” system we allowed activists to more clearly express the preference and favorites for the Republican nomination.

Both the Paul and Cruz camps actively encouraged local supporters to participate in the straw poll. This gave them an opportunity to both test and show their organizational strength and level of committed activist willing to come out and vote.


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