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NEW ORLEANS -- Mitt Romney won the straw poll at the Southern Republican Leadership conference here Saturday in a victory that will be taken as a sign of the former Massachusetts governor's strength as a 2012 presidential candidate.
Romney triumphed by a single vote over Ron Paul, who took second place 439 votes to 438. Both men won 24 percent of the vote. Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich essentially tied for third with 18 percent of the vote each.