Mitt Romney won the Conservative Political Action Conference's straw poll, soundly beating his fellow GOP presidential contenders with 38 percent of the vote, the Washington Times reported.
Rick Santorum placed second with 31 percent and Newt Gingrich was third with 15 percent. Ron Paul -- who did not attend CPAC -- came in last with just 12 percent of the vote, after dominating the contest for the past two years. The straw poll counted the votes of 3,408 conservative activists who descended on Washington, D.C. for the three-day conference.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was the top choice for vice president, garnering 34 percent of the vote, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie coming in second.
According to the Washington Times, Romney's 38 percent win is the highest of any candidate since George W. Bush won in 2000 with 42 percent of the vote.
The straw poll results have no actual bearing on the GOP nominating contest, but are sure to be a boon for Romney, who has suffered from low enthusiasm among conservative voters.
For the first time, the CPAC straw poll also featured a national survey: In those results, Romney only narrowly beat Santorum 27 percent to 25 percent. Gingrich placed third again with 20 percent and Paul came in last with 8 percent.