DENVER -- Conservatives meeting in Denver have handed Georgia businessman Herman Cain a wide victory in a straw poll of Republican presidential candidates.
Cain spoke to the Western Conservative Summit moments before the poll Sunday and drew the crowd to its feet with his life story and biting criticisms of President Barack Obama.
With 508 people voting, 48 percent chose Cain as their favored presidential candidate. Second place, with 13 percent, went to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has not formally announced his presidential campaign but addressed about 1,000 people at the conference Friday.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who addressed the group Friday, got 10 percent. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, won Colorado's Republican presidential caucuses in 2008, also got 10 percent. Nine other Republicans split the rest of the votes.
Event organizer John Andrews said the Denver Straw poll is the "first test of 2012 presidential preferences among grassroots activists in Colorado and the Western states."
Cain reacted to coming out on top in the straw poll on Twitter by writing, "Honored to learn that I won the Western Conservative Summit's straw poll with 48% of the vote. Thank you so much!"