(POLITICO) — Mitt Romney won the CPAC presidential straw poll with 38 percent of the vote, finishing with a single-digit lead over runner-up Rick Santorum, who pulled 31 percent support. Newt Gingrich was a distant third, with 15 percent, followed by Ron Paul, with 12 percent.
The poll is a welcome symbolic win for Romney, who was the second-place finisher in the 2011 straw poll, after Paul, who did not participate in CPAC this year. Romney won the straw poll in 2007.
For the first time, CPAC pollster Tony Fabrizio also conducted a national survey of self-identified conservatives. Romney also finished on top in that survey, by a tiny margin: he took 27 percent to Santorum’s 25 percent, Gingrich’s 20 percent and Paul’s 8 percent.