The thread title to me says, paraphrased, "what is the first guitar that comes to mind if you ask the average guitarist about PRS". That is, hands down, the Custom 24. For most people who know about guitars in general, but aren't necessarily the PRS fans that we are here, the first PRS they think of is the CU24. Is it my favorite? Nope. Is it the best? Subjective, and not for me. But, is it the quintessential essence of PRS? Absolutely.
What are you really after? Are you just a collector looking to add a desirable guitar to your portfolio or is this a tone hunt? If the answer is 'I just want to own the ultimate, quintessential, and timeless PRS guitar', it's going to be a CU24 all day long (just like the poll shows). That's the one that started it all.
But Paul is the one driving changes in the line-up and I haven't seen him playing a CU24 with his band (unless its a demo for the instrument) in a very long time. That's because he wants to play the one that is the pinnacle of PRS achievement (which was your second question). In this case (and for roughly a decade) its a 408-twist on the 25" scale, 22-fret, McCarty (AKA the Paul's Guitar).
And then you tossed out "ultimate example of guitar evolution that retains attributes of the vintage voices we love". While the CU24 and PG are capable of conjuring vintage voices, most of us immediate associate that with humbucker-based McCarty. This is especially true for the 24.594" scale McCarty. But you clarified "while moving everything forward as only PRS has been able to achieve" and nobody is combining vintage tones with the incredible feel of rosewood necks like PRS. Certainly not on this scale.
Bottom line: I recommend taking a big step back before concluding anything from your poll results. I think 66% of your verbiage points toward the McCarty camp. So I end as I began... what are you really after?
PRS guitars have a unique tonal characteristic. If you listen long enough, you’ll recognise it. I’ve observed that tone comes out most strongly in a doublecut stoptail configuration. That to me, is the quintessential PRS. The rest are bells and whistles.
That said, some bells and whistles can be very significant. For example certain necks like Pernambuco, Brazilian rosewood, Honduran Rosewood, Peruvian mahogany etc.
My 24-08 with all its switching options has such a palette of tones at the fingertips. Pretty much the same as the 35th Anniv. switching options... I just liked the more subdued look of the 24-08 vs. The 35th's bird headstock and location of the pickup selector switch
Ironically, the first thing I thought of when I read this question, was my Philosphy teacher in college. I swear he used to intentionally word questions in a way that made you think he was asking more than one thing per question, and trying to trip you up whenever he could. Let’s just say he and I didn’t get along.