Trump, who’s repeatedly flirted with making another presidential run in 2024 to try and return to the White House, captured 59% of ballots cast in the anonymous online straw poll, according to results announced by CPAC on Sunday afternoon.
The former president, who remains the most popular and influential politician in the Republican Party as he continues to play a kingmaker’s role in GOP primaries, won 55% support a year ago in the CPAC Orlando straw poll. Trump jumped to 70% support in the 2024 straw poll conducted last July at CPAC in Dallas.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came in a distant second in the new survey, at 28%, up from his 21% standing in both CPAC straw polls from last year. No one else among the 19 names listed on the ballot cracked 2%.
Trump’s strong performance comes on the unscientific survey as no surprise. CPAC, long the largest and most influential gathering of conservatives, has become a Trump-fest since his 2016 presidential election victory.
Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich touted on Twitter that the former president “continues to grow the conservative MAGA movement, which includes growing his political dominance”
DeSantis, a first-term governor who soared in popularity among conservatives nationwide for his resistance to lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, easily topped a second 2024 ballot question – without Trump on the hypothetical ballot.
DeSantis grabbed 61% support on that question, with two-thirds of Trump supporters from the first question backing the Florida governor.
MIke Pompeo, who served as CIA director and later as Secretary of State during the Trump administration, was a distant second at 6.3%, with the former president’s eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr., at 5.9%. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, who both ran for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, each grabbed 3.3% support.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem stood at 3.1%, with former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served as ambassador to the United Nations in the Trump administration, grabbed 2.1% support. No other candidate listed on the question without Trump topped 2%.
CPAC says over 2,500 attendees at the conference voted on the straw poll.
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