Mitt Romney can wear a conservative badge of honor after winning a straw poll today at an annual gathering of conservatives in Washington.
The Conservative Political Action Conference reported that Romney won the online survey with 38 percent of the vote. Rick Santorum got 31 percent, Newt Gingrich got 15 percent, Ron Paul got 12 percent, and 4 percent of people picked "other" or "undecided."
Romney, Santorum and Gingrich spoke to the conservative conference on Friday, each drawing enthusiastic responses. Romney particularly made a special effort to appeal to the crowd, insisting that his record is that of a severe conservative.
Romney, who has struggled to convert hard-core conservatives to his side, also won a national poll related to the CPAC poll. In that survey, he got 27 percent, Santorum got 25 percent, Gingrich got 20 percent, and Paul got 8 percent.
The conservative voters also gave their opinion on potential running mates, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida won handily with 34 percent of the vote. Governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bob McDonnell of Virginia each got 9 percent.