President Trump Just Boasted About Winning Polls at CPAC. He Lost 6 Times

2 minute read

President Donald Trump boasted about doing well at a grassroots conservative conference in years past, but he actually lost a straw poll of attendees every single year.

Speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, D.C., on Friday, Trump noted that he had addressed the crowd in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015. (He notably skipped the 2016 event, held in the midst of the Republican primary.)

“You know, my first major speech was at CPAC,” Trump said Friday. “I loved it. I loved the people. I loved the commotion. And then they did these polls where I went through the roof and I wasn’t even running.”

It wasn’t clear exactly what polls Trump was referring to, but there is a good measure of how well someone did at CPAC: a straw poll of thousands of grassroots attendees held at the end of the event.

By that measure, Trump did not go through the roof. In fact, he did poorly in five out of the past six contests, and reached only third place last year with just 15% of the vote.

Here’s a look at who won in the straw polls held since Trump’s first appearance at CPAC.

2011: Then-Rep. Ron Paul won with 30%. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney came in second with 23%. New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tied for third place with 6%. Trump was not in the top 15.

2012: Romney won with 38%. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum came in second with 31%. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was third with 15%.

2013: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul won with 25%. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio came in second with 23%. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum came in third with 8%.

2014: Rand Paul won with 31%. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz came in second with 11% and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson came in third place with 9%. Trump received just one percent in a seven-way tie for 14th place.

2015: Rand Paul won with 25.7%. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came in second with 21.4%, Cruz came in third place with 11.5%. Trump came in eighth place with just 3.5%.

2016: Cruz won with 40% of the vote. Rubio came in second with 30%. Trump came in third place with 15%

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at