At a key conservative gathering over the past weekend, a vast majority of participants showed support for former President Donald Trump in a hypothetical Republican presidential primary, as per the results of a straw poll.
The poll conducted by the Trafalgar Group at the Turning Point Action Conference in West Palm Beach, Florida, showed an overwhelming preference for Trump, who received 87.5% of the votes among the Republican contenders. In contrast, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis received a mere 4.3% of the votes.
In a surprising turn of events, despite the event taking place in his own state, DeSantis ranked below businessman Perry Johnson who secured 7.8% of the votes.
The poll drew responses from about half of the 6,000 conference attendees, with an equal representation from the 18-21 age group and other age ranges.
Trump, who gave a wide-ranging speech at the event, was highly popular among the attendees. On the other hand, DeSantis was noticeably absent from the conference held in his state.
In a statement to the Washington Examiner, Bryan Griffin, DeSantis’s campaign press secretary, mentioned that the governor was busy with commitments in Iowa and at the Tennessee GOP Statesman Dinner.
When it came to the second preference of the respondents, Vivek Ramaswamy, another speaker at the conference, was a popular choice. DeSantis received a less enthusiastic response, with only 13.5% choosing him as their second choice.
Charlie Kirk, the founder and CEO of Turning Point, pointed out that the poll clearly demonstrates Trump’s continued influence and popularity among the conservative base, despite numerous criticisms. He also suggested that DeSantis’s decision not to attend the event could have affected his standing in the poll.
Two other Republican presidential contenders, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, also addressed the crowd at the conference.
Regarding the Vice President’s position, the poll showed a preference for Kari Lake, Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), and Ramaswamy, by 30%, 24%, and 22% of respondents respectively.
Despite DeSantis’s absence, he still received some support, as evidenced by positive messages left on a large cardboard cutout of his face outside the main hall.
Lastly, the Trafalgar poll found that over 95% of respondents were against the U.S. getting involved in the Ukraine conflict, and considered the southern border to be the most pressing issue. About two-thirds of the respondents expressed a lack of trust in the RNC’s ability to mobilize voters for the 2024 elections, with 77% of them stating they had no plans to donate to the RNC.