Why you should be hesitant about drawing sweeping conclusions from CPAC straw polls or anything else that happens there (although it certainly is a fun and informative time if you do go):
Since George W. Bush left office these are the only 5 people to win the CPAC presidential poll: Rudy Giuliani, George Allen, Mitt Romney, and someone whose last name is Paul.
Obviously these names all have something in common. They represent the big government, pro-killing/pro-homosexuality corporatist wing of the party (Giuliani, Allen, and Romney), or the libertarian wing (Paul). While those are certainly factions within the party, that’s exactly what they are — factions.
Results speak for themselves. Giuliani was an awful presidential candidate. Romney had to pretend to be conservative and run from his liberal record to gain traction. Allen got creamed in his last two senate races. Ron Paul’s only popular vote win in a presidential primary/caucus came in the U.S. Virgin Islands, I believe. The other states he’s won came-after-the-fact by working the delegate process. Rand Paul has won the last three CPAC straw polls now, but he doesn’t lead in polling in any of the three key early states.