Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was declared the winner of the Conservative Political Action Conference’s straw poll Saturday.
Romney garnered the support of 38 percent of registered CPAC attendees, besting former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum’s 31 percent showing by seven percentage points.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich came in third place with 15 percent while Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who was the only presidential contender not to deliver a speech at the conference, finished with 12 percent.
Just over 3,400 attendees of the 3-day conservative extravaganza, which took place at the Wardham Marriott in Washington, D.C., cast ballots.
Romney had won the straw poll three times previously, in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Paul emerged victorious in 2010 and 2011.
In a separate national poll released along with the results of the straw poll, Romney also finished on top, though by a much smaller margin. He received 27 percent in the national poll, compared to Santorum’s 25 percent. Gingrich came in third place with 20 percent while Paul finished last again with 8 percent.
The national poll, which has a 4-percentage-point margin of error, surveyed 600 self-identified conservative voters Feb. 7–8.
The straw poll also indicated that a plurality of CPAC attendees prefer Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to other potential GOP vice-presidential nominees. In the national poll, Rubio tied New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as the top choice for vice president.
Both polls were sponsored by the Washington Times and conducted by Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates.