Rand Paul Tops Rivals In Michigan Straw Poll

The Republican Senator from Kentucky received 22 percent of the vote at the Mackinac Island Republican Leadership Conference in Michigan. This win in Michigan comes after the Paul campaign has seen a downward spiral in national poll numbers over the last few months, perhaps signaling a change in the race.

In an email sent to supporters, Rand Paul’s campaign said that this poll has historically been a good predictor for who the GOP nominee will be.

“Traditionally, the straw poll held at the Mackinac Island Republican Leadership Conference has been one of the strongest predictors of who will emerge as the Republican nominee.”

The email continued by stating that McCain and Romney both topped the poll before going on to win the nomination.

“In 2007 and 2011, John McCain and Mitt Romney won – and both headed on to victory – in the Republican Primary.”

While the Michigan straw poll win may mean good things for the Rand Paul campaign, it might not be that big of a deal. As Politico mentioned, the poll is electorally meaningless. Unless state and national polls start to place Rand higher than his current four percent.

The Mackinac Island Republican Leadership Conference straw poll put former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina in second place. Ohio Governor John Kasich came in third, while Texas Senator Ted Cruz was in fourth.

The latest national polls put real estate mogul Donald Trump at the top of the pack on the Republican side. Trump has enjoyed first place in the polls for months now, and he now shows some signs that he may sink below first place. Carly Fiorina managed to rise to second place in the latest CNN poll following the second GOP debate. The former CEO went from 3 percent in early September to 15 percent after the second debate.

Trump saw a major drop in the polls after the latest debate. As CNN noted, Trump was at 32 percent earlier this month, but had dropped to 24 percent following the debate. That’s an impressive 8 percentage point drop. Mr. Trump still has a healthy lead over his closest rival, Ms. Fiorina.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has dropped a significant number of percentage points as well. He dropped from 19 percent to 14 percent. Carson had been in second place, but is now one percentage point behind Ms. Fiorina.

There is still plenty of time for the race to change before the Republican primaries next year. Many analysts do not expect Trump to fair well in the primaries, which would open up the race for other anti-establishment candidates like Rand Paul and Ben Carson.

[Photo by Sean Rayford / Getty Images]