Former President Donald Trump took the straw poll by a wide margin at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Sunday, with 55% of those in attendance picking him as the prospective Republican Party's 2024 presidential nominee, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis coming in several points behind him, at 21%.
Overall, Trump's approval rating was 97% in the conservative crowd, but 68% of those voting in the straw poll said he should seek the White House again, reports Fox News. Another 95% said they want the party to advance Trump's policies and America first agenda.
DeSantis topped the straw poll's results in a survey taken without including the former president. In that poll, DeSantis netted 43% of the vote, followed by South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem at 11% and Donald Trump Jr. at 8%.
Fox noted that the straw poll is not scientific, pointing out that CPAC had promoted the conference as a pro-Trump gathering, including wrapping up the events with the former president as the keynote speaker.
The results of the poll were released to cheers Sunday afternoon before Trump was to appear to give his speech, the first he's made since leaving the White House.
DeSantis has become popular because of his resistance to COVID lockdowns in Florida. Neither he, nor anyone else, has said if they plan to seek the 2024 GOP nomination, reports The New York Times.
CPAC polls have not proven to be predictors of future nominees, the Times stressed. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., won three such polls in a row before the 2016 primary, which he left after the Iowa caucuses. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who has come out as a fierce critic of Trump's, won straw polls in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2012, but now is booed by Trump's supporters.
Meanwhile, Trump's former vice president, Mike Pence, did not attend the conference and did not do well in the CPAC vote, netting only 1%.
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