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