ABC News' Michael Falcone reports:
Mike Pence for president in 2012?
That is the message that the social conservatives who voted in this weekend’s straw poll at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit in Washington have sent. They chose the Indiana congressman as the candidate they would most like to see as the Republican presidential nominee two years from now.
In fact, Pence was so popular among those who took the straw poll that he topped the list of potential GOP vice presidential candidates too.
Pence received 24 percent of the vote, two percentage points ahead of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the winner of last year’s Values Voter straw poll, who got 22 percent. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney received 13 percent, followed by Newt Gingrich with 10 percent. Sarah Palin, who did not attend this year’s convention and instead spoke at a fundraiser for the Republican Party of Iowa on Friday night, received 7 percent of the vote.
Palin came in second on the list of potential vice presidential candidates, and Family Reserarch Council Presdient Tony Perkins, who announced the results of the straw poll, called the pairing of Pence and Palin a “dream ticket.”
Perkins said the results reflect “what has been happening in primaries across the country.”
On Friday, Pence stirred the crowd with a rousing speech that focused on hot-button social issues as well as a pointed critique of the Obama administration.
“Those who would have us ignore the battle being fought over life, marriage and religious liberty have forgotten the lessons of history," Pence told the audience. "As in the days of a house divided, America’s darkest moments have come when economic arguments trumped moral principles.”
The straw poll ballot included 18 potential candidates. It did not list likely 2012 contender, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who asked that his name be removed from the ballot. He is traveling in Asia and could not address the conference in person.
Full results of the straw poll (presidential preference):
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind. (24%)
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (22%)
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (13%)
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (10%)
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (7%)
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (5%)
Sen. Jim DeMint (5%)
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (2%)
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (2%)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (2%)
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. (2%)
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (1%)
Former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio (1%)
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. (1%)
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (1%)
Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex. (1%)
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (less than 1%)