Pence Surprise Winner of Values Voter Straw Poll

Representative Mike Pence, R-In. is the big winner in the 2010 Values Voter Summit Presidential Straw Poll at this year's meeting with former Governor Mike Huckabee, R-Ar, coming in second, followed by former GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin.

"Congressman Pence gave an outstanding speech... but he is also been providing, some very crucial leadership which has been more visible among social conservatives and conservatives. In general, I think I just attribute it to Congressman Pence's ability to communicate a very strong conservative message," said Tony Perkins, the President of the Family Research Council on Pence's win.

In the race for Vice Presidential nominee, Palin won, but only because Pence had already won the nominee for president. Former Senator Rick Santorum R-Pa., Rep. Paul Ryan R-Wi., Sen. Jim DeMint R-Sc and Huckabee were the runner-ups.

Also on the ballot were the top issues that will matter most to voters in the upcoming election with abortion topping the concerns, followed by government spending, repeal of Obamacare, the protection of civil liberties and national security. Perkins thinks that the order of their picks demonstrates how close social conservatives and fiscal conservatives will be in supporting candidates this fall.

"We see among social conservatives as we've been saying both fiscal and the social issues are on their mind and their top choices for candidates. As we've seen in the primaries actually, are those candidates who can address both, who are conservative across the board, upholding the constitution and those founding principles, solid fiscal records, as well as, solid social records."

Before those straw poll results rolled in, hundreds of activists packed into a DC ballroom to listen to conservative leaders often jumping to their feet, cheering and throwing in an occasional "Amen" of agreement.

Mat Staver, chairman of the Liberty Council, asked the crowd: "Are you ready for an awakening in your generation?"

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell told them that a "conservative renaissance" is sweeping the nation but it needs to translate into votes. "We've got to get people who believe in these conservative, pro-family, limited-government federalism ideas out in November."

Potential Presidential contender Newt Gingrich received a number of standing ovations, saying the country is facing some stark challenges. "On the one front, we have a secular, socialist machine led by Obama, Pelosi and Reid. And on the other front, we have radical Islamists who would fundamentally change this country into a system none of us in this room would recognize," he said.

Gingrich spoke about a number of recent votes where establishment candidates were knocked out by underdog conservatives, including primary winner Christine O'Donnell in Delaware. He scored it grassroots "seven," establishment "zero."

Liberals point to the small size of the values voters group - 2,000 have gathered in Washington. Participants, however, warn not to underestimate them, saying the conference is a good indicator of where social conservatives will be throwing their weight two years from now - along with their money, grassroots organizing and votes.

FOX News' Gretchen Gailey contributed to this report.