Here's some heartening news for Mitt Romney, still smarting from his triple-decker whooping last Tuesday to Rick Santorum in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri. Apparently the candidate's boast to Conservative Political Action Conference members of having a "severely conservative" governing record did not fall upon severely deaf ears: Romney won The Washington Times/CPAC Presidential Straw Poll on Saturday, topping Santorum as American conservatives' favorite presidential hopeful. Romney took 38 percent of a straw poll that canvassed 3,408 conservative activists who had gathered for this week's CPAC meeting in Washington. Santorum came in second with 31 percent, while Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul trailed with 15 and 12 percent respectively. The national survey numbers were less conclusive: Romney earned 27 percent, just squeezing ahead of Santorum's 25 percent. Romney's showing is the best since George W. Bush won 42 percent in the 2000 vote, The Post reports.
UPDATE: Gawker has video of a frenzied crowd chanting "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" after protesters identifying as Occupy demonstrators from American University interrupted Sarah Palin's speech with a "mic check."
UPDATE 2: Yahoo's The Ticket is reporting that Romney has won the Maine caucuses, receiving 39 percent of the vote to Ron Paul's 36 percent. Breaking that down to actual numbers of voters, 2,290 voted for Romney, while 1,966 voted for Paul. Next up: Arizona and Michigan, who hold their primaries on Feb. 28.