Former President Trump won a comfortable majority of the vote in the Conservative Political Action Conference’s (CPAC) straw poll, maintaining his position as the favorite for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Organizers announced at CPAC’s convention in Texas that Trump won 69 percent of the vote, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) with 24 percent. Trump expanded his lead from the last CPAC straw poll in February, when he received the support of 59 percent of voting attendees to DeSantis’ 28 percent.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) came in third place with 2 percent, while other choices received 1 percent support or less.
In a hypothetical poll without Trump in the race, DeSantis held the lead with 65 percent. Donald Trump Jr. came in second place with 8 percent, Cruz came in third with 6 percent and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came in fourth with 5 percent.
Despite DeSantis gaining attention as a possible alternative to Trump as the 2024 GOP nominee, Trump has consistently dominated CPAC’s informal straw polls since he left office last year.
Trump won the straw poll taken at CPAC in February 2021, about a month after his term ended, with 55 percent of the vote, followed by DeSantis with 21 percent. He received 70 percent support in the straw poll taken at a second CPAC convention last July.
DeSantis has meanwhile remained the consistent second-place finisher but has been unable to top 30 percent support.
DeSantis led among potential choices to be the vice-presidential nominee with 43 percent, followed by South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) with 9 percent and Pompeo at 7 percent.
Trump’s approval rating among CPAC attendees ticked up to 99 percent, up two points from February. Nine out of 10 said they strongly approve of Trump’s performance as president.
More than 60 percent of voters listed election integrity as the most important issue, a sign of Trump’s influence on the party as he continues to claim without evidence that voter fraud cost him reelection in the 2020 presidential election.
More than half of voters listed building a border wall and immigration as one of the most important issues, while about 30 percent listed energy independence and constitutional rights, respectively.
The results also showed that CPAC attendees largely do not expect President Biden or Vice President Harris to be the Democratic nominee in 2024.
A 37 percent plurality believe California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will be the Democratic nominee, while 16 percent expect former first lady Michelle Obama. Biden was chosen by 8 percent, along with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Harris was chosen by 4 percent.