CPAC Straw Poll

February 12, 2012 by staff 

CPAC Straw Poll, Mitt Romney is back in the lead — at least symbolically — of the topsy-turvy Republican nomination race, going two for two on Saturday.

He won the influential Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll here Saturday with 38% support to Rick Santorum’s 31%, and he beat Ron Paul in Maine to cinch that state’s non-binding caucuses.

Romney won in Maine with 39% support to Paul’s 36%.

“I thank the voters of Maine for their support,” Romney said in a statement Saturday night. “I’m committed to turning around America, and I’m heartened to have the support of so many good people in this great state.”

Both wins are largely symbolic, though, as Maine’s 21 delegates will be divvied up in May.

Paul, who campaigned harder in Maine than any other candidate hoping for his first win in the GOP primary, told supporters Saturday night he thinks he’ll get the majority of Maine’s delegates eventually, and vowed to stay in the race.

“It would have been great to win outright the straw vote, but it will be even greater to win the delegate vote,” he said. “We’re not going to go away. We’re going to be in all these places where we’ll continue to pick up delegates for one good reason — we have the message that America needs at this particular time.”

In the CPAC straw poll, Newt Gingrich finished third with 15%, and libertarian-leaning Paul finished last with 12%.

Neither Santorum nor Gingrich campaigned in Maine, and finished with 18% and 6% respectively.

Four years ago, Romney won the CPAC straw poll, but bowed out of the race and endorsed John McCain.

He also won the Maine caucuses in 2008 with more than 50% support. But with just over 5,000 people voting in Maine Saturday, less than 200 votes separated Romney and Paul.

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