Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is the presidential choice of conservatives who attended the Value Voters Summit in Washington D.C. over the weekend, The Hill reported.

Huckabee received the most votes, 28.5 percent, in the informal presidential straw poll taken at the annual conservative meet up sponsored by the Family Research Council (FRC), an ardent opponent of gay and lesbian rights.

In second place was former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who trailed by over 16 points; he received 12.4 percent of the vote. Taking a surprising fourth place finish was former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, last year's conservative sweetheart.

“He is well-oiled,” Tony Perkins, president of the FRC, told the paper. “He came back with a strong message and I don't think he missed a beat from the presidential campaign last year.”

Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, is a fervent social conservative. He does not believe gays should be allowed to serve in the military and is opposed to granting gay and lesbian couples the legal status of civil unions or marriage.

“There's never been a civilization that has rewritten what marriage and family means and survived,” he told GQ last year before he lost the Republican presidential primary to Arizona Senator John McCain.

Other candidates voters considered were Indiana Representative Mike Pence, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and Texas Representative Ron Paul. Paul received less than 2 percent of the vote.

Just under 600 people voted in the unofficial poll.