Cain, Romney finish 1-2 in Nevada straw poll

The Western Republican Leadership Conference held a straw poll yesterday and Herman Cain came out on top with 31% followed closely by Mitt Romney at 29%.

New Gingrich finished a suprisingly strong third with 20%.Washington Times:

The results follow Mr. Cain's surprise victory in the so-called Presidency 5 straw poll in Orlando last month, which was seen as a big blow to Mr. Perry's front-runner status at the time.

Since then, the former businessman and Atlanta radio talk-show host has surged in the polls, stealing a lot of the conservative and tea party support that helped Mr. Perry leapfrog to the front of the GOP presidential field shortly after he entered the race in August.

Mr. Romney, meanwhile, has consistently stayed near or at the front of the pack in national polls as Mr. Perry has faded.

The victory closed out the four-day Western Republican Leadership Conference, which featured the most intense debate of the Republican race so far here, with Mr. Romney and Mr. Perry trading rhetorical haymakers over their conservative credentials, their respective records on jobs and their stances on immigration. Reflecting his rising prominence, Mr. Cain also came under fire here from his GOP rivals for his "9-9-9" tax reform plan and for his stands on social issues such as abortion.

David Mansdoerfer, of Citizen Outreach, the poll sponsor, said the results aren't surprising. "Herman Cain has spent a lot of time in Nevada and it shows," he said. "You can see people reacting to his message about the economy and job creation"

Good news for Cain, bad news for Romney. Even though straw poll voters were from other states in the west, the bulk of participants were from Nevada - a state Romney won 4 years ago. Cain's strength among conservatives would appear to outweigh Romney's strength with LDS members in Nevada.

Nevada is considering moving its caucuses back to February.

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