(Photo: REUTERS/Scott Audette)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won a straw poll of party activists in his home state of Michigan Sunday, leaving frontrunner Rick Perry trailing by a margin of 34 percent.
The results announcing Romney’s victory in the straw poll at the GOP leadership conference in Mackinac Island came a day after the former Massachusetts governor finished third in the Florida straw poll Saturday that was won by former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain.
Texas Gov. Perry came in a distant second in both straw polls. He received 15 percent of the votes in the Florida 5 Straw Poll and 17 percent in Michigan.
Both Romney and Perry spoke at the Republican conference Saturday at the Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island, but Romney had a clear advantage being a son of soil. Romney reminded the voters of his Michigan background. “Everything I see around here reminds me of my parents… [It] feels very much like home,” he was quoted by CNN as saying at a diner in St. Igance.
Romney won 51 percent of the 681 votes cast. Cain finished third with 9 percent, followed by Texas Rep. Ron Paul with 8 percent.
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann finished fifth with just 4 percent. She received only 2 percent of the vote in the Saturday’s Florida straw poll.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia came away with 4 percent while former senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. won 3 percent and 2 percent of the vote, respectively.
Michigan may host one of the early 2012 primaries. Romney won the 2008 primary in this swing state.
The Michigan straw poll, organized and sponsored by National Journal Hotline and the National Association of Home Builders, also asked voters to select their personal favorite for a Republican vice-presidential candidate. Freshman Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida won 23 percent of the 481 votes cast, followed by Cain with 14 percent. Gingrich won13 percent and Bachmann, 12 percent.