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Romney Wins CPAC Straw Poll in Needed Boost

After a string of defeats, the former Massachusetts governor gets the backing of a conservative gathering in Washington.

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CNN's Dana Bash reported on CNN Newsroom Saturday afternoon that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has won a straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, garnering 38 percent of support.

The Weekley Standard broke down the results, putting the recently surging Rick Santorum at 31 percent, Newt Gingrich at 15 percent and Ron Paul at 12 percent.

Though the win does not add to Romney's lead in the tally of delegates for the Republican presidential nomination, it is a badly needed endorsement from the party's right wing, which has consistently expressed misgivings about Romney's Mormon faith, his past support for abortion rights and government mandated health care.

The straw poll, which surveyed the views of several thousand participants, has not always tracked the results of elections: libertarian candidate Ron Paul had won the two previous polls.

Romney had suffered a withering attack at the conference yesterday by former Pennsylvania Sen Rick Santorum, who said supporting Romney would be to abandon the Republican cause, according to The Washington Post.