Former President Donald Trump, in results announced Sunday, won the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll with 55% of attendees saying they'd vote for him if the 2024 GOP primary were today.
Trump got 55% of the vote in the poll in which he was included, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in second place at 21%.
Notably, CPAC is being held in Orlando, Fla., in 2021 due to coronavirus restrictions. Shortly before pollster Jim McLaughlin announced the straw poll results, the ballroom erupted in cheers approving of the decision to hold CPAC in Florida.
CPAC also took a poll without Trump. DeSantis won that poll with 43% of the vote, followed by South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem with 11% and Donald Trump Jr. at 8%.
Trump's approval rating in the straw poll was 97%, with 87% saying they strongly approve of Trump's job as president. And 68% of people at CPAC in the straw poll said that Trump should run for president again.
The straw poll is not a scientific poll. CPAC sold itself as a pro-Trump gathering ahead of time so it is likely that the self-selected crowd is more pro-Trump than the Republican Party at large. There was even a golden statue, which many compared to an idol, of the former president.
American Conservative Union President Matt Schlapp also said in an interview with Fox News last week that any Republicans wanting to win the 2024 GOP nomination would need to be closely aligned with Trump.
"Look, you're not going to get the Republican nomination being a never-Trumper,' Schlapp said. "You're not going to get the Republican nomination if you're not a strong conservative. So all of that kind of courting, it's appropriate that it starts at CPAC."
Republicans who have been highly critical of the former president performed very poorly in the CPAC straw poll. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan got 0.1%, while Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah got 0.3%.
Notably, 95% of those who responded to the CPAC straw poll said that the GOP should continue with the Trump agenda. Only 3% said it should change direction.
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