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CPAC attendees back Trump for president in 2024

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the second choice in GOP straw poll

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Former President Donald Trump speaks during CPAC on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Orlando, Florida.
Tomas Diniz Santos / Orlando Sentinel / TNS
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ORLANDO, Fla. — As the Conservative Political Action Committee conference wrapped up Sunday in Orlando, a straw poll revealed former President Donald Trump retained strong support among Republicans for another White House bid, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is a clear second choice.

The poll included ballots by 2,574 attendees and showed 59% selected Trump as their preferred presidential nominee, stronger than his 55% support last year, the results distributed by the conference showed. DeSantis was the second-highest choice at 28%, also an improvement on his 21% total last year.

“So much for [Trump] fading,” said Jim McLaughlin, the pollster who announced the results Sunday.

The release of the straw poll results came after Trump addressed the conference at the Rosen Shingle Creek resort Saturday night and strongly hinted he’d run again in 2024. DeSantis opened the event Thursday with a speech that also touched on national topics.

If Trump were to decline another presidential run, CPAC attendees had a clear second choice.

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FILE PHOTO: Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finished second in a straw poll among GOP attendees at the CPAC in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022.
Reuters file photo

DeSantis was the runaway favorite in a field without Trump, garnering 61% of the vote — far ahead of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Donald Trump Jr., who tied for second with 6% apiece.

In the same poll last year, 68% of attendees said they wanted Trump to run again, and 55% said the former president was their preferred candidate in 2024. DeSantis came in second at 21%, and was the top candidate in a separate poll not including Trump at 43%.

Sunday, the final day of the four-day conference, also included panels called “The Moron in Chief,” a conversation with former Notre Dame football coach and longtime Orlando resident Lou Holtz, and closed out with a speech by Donald Trump Jr. and a performance by Lee Greenwood.

©2022 Orlando Sentinel. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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