ORLANDO, Fla. — Nearly 4 months after he misplaced the 2020 election, Donald J. Trump was in a position to rejoice being a winner once more on Sunday, after he captured the 2024 presidential straw ballot of the Conservative Political Action Conference, whereas Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida completed first in a second 2024 straw ballot protecting a subject of potential candidates that didn’t embrace Mr. Trump.
But in a shock little bit of downbeat information for Mr. Trump, solely 68 p.c of these on the convention mentioned they needed the previous president to run once more in 2024. Far extra attendees, 95 p.c, mentioned they needed the Republican Party to advance Mr. Trump’s insurance policies and agenda than endorsed him operating once more, even because the mere point out of Mr. Trump’s identify earned loud applause all through the three-day gathering of activists.
The straw polls, performed by secret poll, mirrored the views of present and former elected officers, activists, writers and others who attended the three-day convention — a bunch that, usually talking, represents the far-right wing of the Republican Party and now features a disproportionate variety of Mr. Trump’s most passionate supporters.
The former president had completely dominated the weekend gathering in Orlando — an enormous golden duplicate of him was a prime attraction for activists — and organizers of the occasion, higher often called CPAC, put collectively two straw polls to gauge the following presidential subject whether or not Mr. Trump runs or not.
Mr. Trump carried 55 p.c of the vote within the straw ballot he was included in. Mr. DeSantis was the one Republican to attain double digits, with 21 p.c help, within the straw ballot that included Mr. Trump. The outcomes had been introduced by Jim McLaughlin, a pollster for Mr. Trump who performed the survey for CPAC.
Throughout the weekend, most of the CPAC audio system, particularly different potential Republican 2024 candidates, had hailed Mr. Trump and made a case for his achievements to loud ovations on Friday and Saturday.
“Donald J. Trump ain’t going anywhere,” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas mentioned on Friday to thunderous applause.
The outcomes had been launched on Sunday afternoon simply earlier than Mr. Trump appeared at CPAC to make the primary speech of his post-presidency.
The prime end for Mr. DeSantis within the straw ballot with out Mr. Trump is a lift to his emergence as a number one Republican for the post-Trump period. As the governor of the essential swing state of Florida (which can also be now house to Mr. Trump), Mr. DeSantis has turn into a preferred determine amongst science-skeptical Republicans for his resistance to Covid-related lockdowns.
His speech on Friday seize the present post-policy section of Republicanism. “We can sit around and have academic debates about conservative policy, we can do that,” he mentioned. “But the question is, when the Klieg lights get hot, when the left comes after you: Will you stay strong, or will you fold?”
Mr. DeSantis additionally vowed by no means to return to “the failed Republican establishment of yesteryear.” Mr. DeSantis, like different potential presidential candidates, has not indicated if he certainly plans to run for the Republican nomination for the White House in 2024.
He earned 43 p.c within the straw ballot with out Mr. Trump, with Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota ending second, with 11 p.c.
The CPAC straw polls haven’t proved significantly predictive of future presidential nominees. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky received three in a row within the run-up to the 2016 main, which he stop after a poor exhibiting in a single contest — the Iowa caucuses. Senator Mitt Romney of Utah received 4 CPAC straw polls (in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012) but now could be a determine whose identify drew boos and derision as one among Mr. Trump’s fiercest Republican critics.
Still, the early 2021 success for Mr. DeSantis provides him a bigger platform and bragging rights for a celebration that continues to be very a lot seeking any id past fealty to Mr. Trump.
The straw ballot end result was probably discouraging for former (*68*) President Mike Pence, who didn’t attend the convention. He had served as Mr. Trump’s loyal No. 2 for 4 years, but his unwillingness to strive to problem or overturn the outcomes of the 2020 election earned him Mr. Trump’s anger and, in flip, that of many within the Republican base. Mr. Pence earned one p.c of the CPAC vote.