At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) gathering in Florida last weekend, former President Donald Trump decisively won the GOP presidential nomination straw poll for 2024.
According to the results of the anonymous online straw poll released by CPAC on Sunday afternoon, Trump, who has often flirted with a presidential run in 2024 to try to reclaim the White House, received 59 percent of the votes cast.
In the CPAC Orlando straw poll a year ago, the former president, who remains the most popular and important figure in the Republican Party and continues to play a kingmaker’s role in GOP primaries, received 55 percent approval. In a 2024 straw poll conducted last July at CPAC in Dallas, Trump received 70% approval.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis finished in second in the latest poll, with 28 percent of the vote, up from 21 percent in both CPAC straw polls last year. No one else on the ballot, out of the 19 candidates, got more than 2%.
Trump’s strong showing in the informal poll is unsurprising. Since Trump’s 2016 presidential election victory, CPAC, the largest and most powerful conservative gathering, has become a Trump-fest.
Trump spokeswoman Taylor Budowich praised the former president on Twitter, saying that he “continues to grow the conservative MAGA movement, which includes growing his political dominance.”
DeSantis, a first-term governor who gained national acclaim for his opposition to lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions during the coronavirus outbreak, handily won a second 2024 ballot question — this time without Trump on the ballot.
On that question, DeSantis received 61 percent of the vote, with two-thirds of Trump supporters choosing the Florida governor.
Mike Pompeo, who served as the CIA director and then as Secretary of State under the Trump administration, came in second with 6.3 percent, followed by Donald Trump, Jr. with 5.9 percent. Both Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who competed for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, received 3.3 percent of the vote.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem received 3.1 percent of the vote, while former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served as the Trump administration’s ambassador to the United Nations, received 2.1 percent. Without Trump, no other contender on the ballot received more than 2% of the vote.
The straw poll was voted on by nearly 2,500 conference attendees, according to CPAC.