(NewsNation) — In a sign that the former president retains influence over a large swath of conservative activists, Donald Trump won the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Texas on Saturday.
Trump won 69 percent of the vote, topping Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who won 24 percent. The former president’s strength was also evident in his approval rating among CPAC voters, which stood at 99 percent.
However, when Trump’s name was excluded from the list of potential candidates, DeSantis won a decisive 65 percent of voters.
DeSantis also received the most votes when asked who Trump should pick as a vice presidential running mate, netting 43 percent of the votes. South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem came in second with 9 percent of votes.
Election integrity was voted the most important issue for CPAC attendees, with more than 60 percent of people selecting it as one of their top three issues. Border security came in second, with 51 percent choosing it, with energy independence sitting at third with 31 percent.
The straw poll, which was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, also asked attendees who they thought would be the 2024 Democratic presidential nominee. California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom came in first place with 37 percent of the vote and former first lady Michelle Obama came in second with 16 percent of the vote. President Joe Biden sat at third with 8 percent.
Decision Desk HQ Senior Data Analyst Kiel Williams joined NewsNation Prime Weekend to discuss the implications of Trump possibly announcing a presidential run sometime in the next few months.
“It is definitely true that if the former president were to announce his presidential run right now, that could potentially provide some new momentum to Democrats heading into the midterm,” he said. “We see in our polling that a clear majority of independents are not particularly interested in seeing the former president run again. And if his presidential bid starts right now in advance of the midterms that could be something that gives those independents — who Republicans need their support in key states like Georgia and Nevada — could give them a reason to think twice before pulling the lever for a Republican candidate.”