Five new Republican faces for a possible run for the U.S. presidency in 2012 are in this year's straw poll of thousands of conservative activists who have made their annual trek to Washington this week.
Registered participants in the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington will have a chance to vote for their favorites for the 2012 election, as momentum builds for the formal process of selecting a Republican nominee.
Whoever is ultimately chosen at next year's Republican National Convention will almost certainly face off against President Barack Obama, the expected Democratic Party nominee.
Bumper stickers with conservative messages are available at a display booth at the Conservative Political Action conference (CPAC) in Washington February 10, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
In 2010, nearly 2,400 registrants voted.
Candidates from last year's poll also in this year's ballot are Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, and current South Dakota Sen. John Thune.
Nearly half the registrants were students in 2010, about one third were classified as individual registrants and the most of the rest were linked to CPAC sponsors.
The winner of the 2010 straw poll was Rep. Ron Paul R-TX, followed by three-time winner Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, came in third.