The Conservative Political Action Conference, better known as "CPAC," wrapped up its annual gathering here in Washington on Saturday by naming former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney the winner of a straw poll as the top 2012 GOP presidential candidate. Romney, who earned 20 percent of the vote, has come out on top three years in a row at the annual conference.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal came in second with 14 percent despite his widely panned performance following President Obama's speech to Congress last Tuesday. Right behind Jindal was Texas Rep. Ron Paul and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, with 13 percent each, followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 10 percent and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 7 percent. Rounding out the poll were South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (4 percent), former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (3 percent), Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (2 percent), and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (1 percent). Nine percent were undecided.
Here are some other interesting CPAC facts:
- More than half the conference attendees were college students.
- Just 4 percent of attendees said they approve of President Obama's job efforts so far in the White House.
Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh delivered the keynote address Saturday, saying Obama is a gifted politician who is using his talents to strike fear not inspiration in the American people. He called on conservatives to win back the country by doing a better job of explaining who conservatives are: "We love people. When we look out over the United States of America, when we're anywhere, when we see a group of people such as this or anywhere, we see Americans."