Md. GOP Convention Straw Poll Favors Cruz, Rubio

HOLLYWOOD, Md. (Nov. 26, 2015)—A straw poll of favored Republican presidential nominees taken at the Maryland GOP convention on Solomons Island over the weekend shows that at least state rank and file party members want a candidate more established in politics than those like real estate magnate Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

The straw poll had Sen. Ted Cruz at the top of the list with Sen. Marco Rubio coming in at second place.

State GOP operatives said that Cruz had 62 votes while Rubio had 52 votes.

The straw poll flies in the face of many popular polls that have had Trump on top for months in a crowded GOP field.

Trump came in third in the convention straw poll with 49 votes.

State GOP representatives said the convention straw poll was open to central committee members only and was entirely informal.

However a straw poll taken back in August and released in September after a month of reaching out to a broader base of voters showed that Carson was on top with 31.8 percent of potential voters and Trump was second in the earlier poll with 25.9 percent.

Rubio and Cruz took the third and fourth spots respectively.

The broader poll took in about 1,000 voters GOP representatives said.

Political analysts say that the results of last weekend’s convention poll show the state party may have turned from pure conservative ideaology to a more practical outlook.

Todd Eberly, professor of political science at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, said the election of Gov. Larry Hogan, just the second Republican to hold the office in nearly 40 years, was a harbinger of such a shift.

“It shows that the Maryland GOP has become especially focused on who they need to win,” Eberly said.

Both Trump and Carson have scored high in popular polls including straw polls, Eberly said, with Carson having a particularly strong showing in them.

“Typically straw polls bring out the most committed party activists,” Eberly said, noting that for purely conservative ideaology Trump and Carson usually have higher marks than other candidates.

But, Eberly said, state party members seem impressed with the conservative bonafides of Cruz and Rubio.

“It is amazing to consider that Trump didn’t finish in the top two,” Eberly said. Cruz is especially strong on immigration reform and budget discipline, Eberly said, while Rubio has one of the strongest stances supporting pro-life issues.

“These are two very conservative guys by anyone’s measure,” Eberly said. Moreover, he said, pollsters continue to be dogged by problems with reaching enough of a sample of voters or even a lack of participation.

Elections in Greece and Canada were telling, according to Eberly, because in those cases polls failed accurately predict the electoral outcomes.

“We’ve had quite a few polls that have missed the mark,” Eberly told The County Times. “They all use the same methodology.”

More local stories from the County Times newspapers are available online at

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