Romney Beats Santorum in Conservative Straw Poll

Santorum takes second, Gingrich third in CPAC vote
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2012 4:26 PM CST
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney pauses while speaking at his Colorado caucus night rally in Denver, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – A much-needed boost for Mitt Romney: He won the CPAC straw poll today with 38% of votes over 31% for Rick Santorum, the Washington Times reports. Gingrich took third with 15% and Ron Paul came in fourth, garnering a slim 12% after winning the straw poll the past two years. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was first choice for vice presidential nominee with 34%. The poll, administered by CPAC and the Times, counted votes from 3,408 conservative activists at a political conference in Washington.

Romney's 38% is the highest CPAC victory since George W. Bush won 42% of the vote during his 2000 presidential run. Mitt's win also marked a return to the top after he prevailed in the poll from 2007 to 2009. For the first time, this year the poll included a national survey of 600 self-identified conservatives, in which Romney nipped Santorum by 27% to 25%, and Gingrich took third with 20%. One surprise: Nearly 1 in 5 in the national poll approved of the job President Obama has done in the White House. (Read more Mitt Romney 2012 stories.)

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