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Paul bests Rubio in straw poll of conservatives

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — Sen. Rand Paul edged Sen. Marco Rubio to win a presidential straw poll of political conservatives.

The weekend poll of 3,000 people attending the Conservative Political Action Conference is not considered indicative of who would win the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, but it does suggest trends within the party’s conservative wing.

Both Paul (R-Ky.), who scored 25 percent, and Rubio (R-Fla.), who won 23 percent, have recently toured Israel, but Rubio is considered closer to the pro-Israel movement.

Paul has called for cuts in foreign assistance, including to Israel, although he has cast such calls as aimed at reinforcing Israeli independence from U.S. interference.

Rubio has called for modifications in the GOP’s immigration policy in order to reach out to Hispanics who overwhelmingly supported President Obama in the last election.

Both senators, considered contenders for the 2016 spot, addressed the conference. So did former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the son and brother of former presidents, who also may also consider a 2016 run and in his speech argued that the GOP must moderate its views in order to win elections.

Bush asked not to be included in the straw poll.

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