Former President Donald Trump, about two hours before he took the stage Saturday as the keynote speaker for the Conservative Political Action Conference, was picked as the favorite for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination in the group's straw poll.
Organizers at the event, held this week in Dallas, announced that Trump took 69% of the attendees' votes, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 24%, reports The Hill.
"He's more popular than ever," said Jim McLaughlin, a Trump pollster who conducted the straw poll and announced the results from the CPAC Texas main stage.
Trump's lead grew from CPAC's last straw poll held in February, where he got 59% of the vote, to DeSantis' 28%.
Trump and DeSantis were the only two potential contenders to get double-digit numbers in the straw poll. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, netted third place with just 2% and the other choices got 1% of the votes or less.
Meanwhile, in a hypothetical poll that did not include Trump in the race, DeSantis got 65%.
Trump's oldest son, Donald Jr., got 8%; Cruz got 6% and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brought in 5% of the vote, for fourth place.
Trump's first-place finish came as little surprise, as he's held the top spot since he left office in January 2021. He took 55% of the vote to DeSantis, at 21% in February 2021, and 70% of the vote at a second 2021 convention, held last July.
DeSantis, meanwhile, was the top potential choice for a vice-presidential nominee at 43%, followed by South Dakota GOP Gov. Kristi Noem, 9%, and Pompeo, 7%.
Trump's approval rating among the CPAC attendees reached 99%, which he joked about during his speech.
"The McLaughlin brothers are fantastic posters, so it is wonderful, [but] 99%, why couldn't I get 100%?" Trump said. "When was the last time someone had 99% approval?"
Meanwhile, the results showed that the CPAC attendees do not expect President Joe Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris to top the Democrats' ticket in the 2024 race. Instead, 37% believed California Gov. Gavin Newsom will be the Democrats' nominee; 16% said they think former first lady Michelle Obama will take the ticket; 8% said either Biden or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be the nominee, and 4% said Harris will take the nominee.
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