Mitt Romney won the presidential straw poll Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, an unofficial endorsement from party activists that nevertheless helps the former Massachusetts governor burnish his conservative image.

The Republican presidential candidate won with 38 percent of the vote at the Washington conference, the leading annual meet-up of American conservatives. The victory breaks a two-year winning streak by Ron Paul.

The results, though, showed Rick Santorum gaining traction among party faithful. The former Pennsylvania senator, who won three primary and caucus contests on Tuesday, came in second with 31 percent.

Newt Gingrich was third with 15 percent, and Paul came in fourth with 12 percent.

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