“He’s more popular than ever,” said Jim McLaughlin, a Trump pollster who led the straw poll.
McLaughlin announced the results of the CPAC Texas main stage about two hours before Trump’s scheduled appearance. Of those in attendance who voted, 69% said they preferred Trump, and 24% said they preferred Florida’s Republican government Ron DeSantis.
When asked who they would elect if Trump didn’t run for president, 65% of respondents said they preferred DeSantis, while 8% said they preferred Donald Trump Jr. would support.
The straw survey is not a scientific study, with a pool limited to CPAC participants, and is not representative of the wider GOP electorate.
The results mirror straw polls at previous CPACs since Trump left office, which showed the former president had a big lead among conservative activists and DeSantis as the preferred alternative.
In a July 2021 CPAC straw poll, Trump topped the GOP field with support from 70% of conference attendees, compared to 21% who chose DeSantis last year.