‘An unbreakable bond’: Trump wins latest CPAC presidential election straw poll

Donald Trump
Former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at The Rosen Shingle Creek on February 26, 2022, in Orlando, Florida. CPAC, which began in 1974, is an annual political conference attended by conservative activists and elected officials. |

Former President Donald Trump won the 2024 primary campaign straw poll among attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference gathering in Texas over the weekend.

When asked who they would vote for if the 2024 Republican presidential primaries were held today, 69% chose Trump, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis placed second with 24% of respondents.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, placed a distant third with 2%, while other prominent Republicans and conservatives received 1% or less. Former Vice President Mike Pence received 0.3% support. 

When Trump was omitted from the list of options, DeSantis won with 65% support, followed by Donald Trump Jr. (8%), Cruz (6%) and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (5%). Again, Pence received 0.3% support.  

Additionally, 99% of respondents said they approved of Trump’s performance as president and 93% indicated their intention to support him if he ran again for president in 2024.

The straw poll was conducted Saturday by McLaughlin & Associates and sponsored by the group Real America’s Voice. Males accounted for 53% of the respondents while 81% originated from the South.

“There’s an unbreakable bond between President Trump and the conservative movement,” said CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp in a statement on Saturday. “He simply did the things he promised to do and for that they are forever grateful.”

The latest CPAC poll recorded a considerable increase in support for Trump compared to a similar poll conducted on behalf of the conservative gathering in February.

At its conference in Orlando, Florida, earlier this year, the CPAC straw poll found that 59% of attendees would vote for Trump if their state primary were held today, while 28% backed DeSantis and 2% would support Pompeo.

The February straw poll also found that 85% of respondents would support Trump if he ran for president again, which was eight percentage points lower than the support measured in the poll conducted last week.

Despite the support at CPAC, other polling indicates that Trump is becoming less popular among Republicans, according to a recent Washington Post column by American Enterprise Institute fellow Marc A. Thiessen.

“In October 2021, a Quinnipiac University poll found that an overwhelming 78 percent of Republicans said they wanted to see Trump run in 2024. By February, that share had slipped to 69 percent in a CBS News-YouGov poll,” Thiessen explained.  

“In June, it was down to 53 percent, according to a Politico-Morning Consult poll. And [in July], a New York Times-Siena College poll found that just 49 percent of Republicans say they would support Trump for a third nomination, while a 51 percent majority wants someone else,” he added. “That is a 29-point decline over the past nine months. Trump still has more support than any potential challenger, but more and more Republicans are considering alternatives for 2024.” 

The CPAC straw poll also sampled attendees' opinions about current events, including the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning of the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

The overwhelming majority of those surveyed (98%) expressed support for last month's ruling while just 1% disapproved.

Support for the Dobbs decision is accompanied by a positive perception of the U.S. Supreme Court, which currently consists of three justices appointed by Trump, three justices appointed by other Republican presidents and three justices appointed by Democratic presidents.

Ninety-four percent of CPAC attendees queried approved of the Supreme Court’s job performance while 5% expressed disapproval.

Ten percent of respondents cited human dignity and pro-life issues as one of the three most important issues facing the country, coming in behind national security and foreign policy (12%), the economy and jobs (13%), “stopping the woke cancel culture” (17%), Second Amendment rights (18%), inflation and cost of living (25%), constitutional rights (30%), energy independence (31%), the border wall and immigration (51%) and election integrity (61%). 

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