MANCHESTER, NH - JANUARY 10: Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (C) speaks during his primary night rally with members of his family following the 'first in the nation' primary at Southern New Hampshire University January 10, 2012 in Manchester, New Hampshire. According to early results, Romney finished first in the state's primary election. Romney has led a field of six GOP candidates in the polls by double digits going into to the primary, a second important test for presidential hopefuls. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Romney edges Santorum in conservatives' straw poll

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Mitt Romney has won The Washington Times/CPAC Presidential Straw Poll of conservative activists.

The former Massachusetts governor is favored as the Republican presidential nominee by 38 percent of the 3,408 respondents. Rivals Rick Santorum drew 31 percent, and Newt Gingrich was favored by 15 percent. All three candidates addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington on Friday.

Romney had encouraged students to attend the convention, and 44 percent of them participated in the poll.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul had 12 percent. He won the straw poll in the previous two years. Paul did not attend the conference to campaign in Maine.

GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio said the poll was held online for the first time this year and produced the second highest turnout in the conference's history.

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