Romney wins CPAC straw poll
If nothing else, this shows some organizational muscle by the Mittster.
Mitt Romney won The Washington Times/CPAC Presidential Straw Poll on Saturday, and also nipped Rick Santorum as the top choice of conservatives nationwide, according to a new version of the poll conducted for the first time this year that suggests Mr. Romney retains strong support among self-identified conservatives.
Mr. Romney won 38 percent of the straw poll, which counted the votes of 3,408 activists gathered for the Conservative Political Action Conference, which ran from Thursday through Saturday at a hotel in Washington.
Mr. Santorum was second with 31 percent, Newt Gingrich was third with 15 percent and Rep. Ron Paul was fourth with 12 percent - far below his showing the last two years, when he won with 31 in 2010 and 30 percent in 2011.
In the national survey, meanwhile, Mr. Romney barely topped Mr. Santorum 27 percent to 25 percent, with Mr. Gingrich in third place at 20 percent and Mr. Paul again trailing at 8 percent.
The poll results have no official meaning in the GOP's presidential nomination battle but do give Mr. Romney a boost as he seeks to regain the momentum he appeared to have lost last week as Mr. Santorum swept Tuesday's three contests.
Mr. Romney's 38 percent of the vote among CPAC activists is the highest of any candidate since George W. Bush won 42 percent of the vote in 2000, en route to the nomination and the White House. The poll wasn't held from 2001 through 2004, but has been held every year since then.
I didn't go to CPAC this year, but in previous years, Romney had a small army of well dressed, well groomed young people swarming all over the conference. No doubt he duplicated and augmented that effort this year.
No, it doesn't mean Romney is any more acceptable to many conservatives as a result of his speech yesterday. But it proves that when it comes to organization, the candidate is second to none.