Trump wins CPAC straw vote, boosting campaign speculation after the collapse of Biden polling

In the informal survey of conservative gatherings, Trump received 59 per cent of the votes.

Trump wins CPAC straw vote, boosting campaign speculation after the collapse of Biden polling

ORLANDO -- A straw poll was conducted Sunday at the country's most prestigious conservative conference. This is another indication of Trump's continued dominance over the GOP.

Trump won 59 percent in the Conservative Political Action Conference’s straw poll. This is a long-held measure of Republican presidential aspirants' popularity. This is a slight improvement of around 4 percentage points from last year's CPAC Florida straw survey.

Trump, who has been rumored to be running for the White House after his defeat in 2020, is consistently leading hypothetical Republican polls. A Washington Post/ABC News poll on Sunday showed President Joe Biden's approval rating falling to 37% -- the lowest ever recorded in that survey.

John McLaughlin, Trump pollster, stated that "The more Biden falls, the more buyers feel remorse."

Many GOP insiders believe that a 2024 Republican presidential primaries will be more like a coronation rather than a contest. They think it unlikely that Trump will face any top Republican talent, if his numbers are strong within the party as well as in hypothetical rematches against Biden.

Florida Gov. Trump's national GOP presidential polls consistently show Ron DeSantis as the leader. He came in second in the straw poll with 28 percent support. This is 7 points more than last year. DeSantis was able to attend the conference in his home state where he is still popular with his party. At 2 percent, Mike Pompeo, former Secretary of State, came in third.

There was no doubt that Trump is still the love of the political right. This was confirmed by the roaring applause during Trump's speech and the straw poll.

McLaughlin stated, "With numbers like they're now for Trump -- where both he's winning the nomination and general election -- it's very difficult for anyone to not run," adding that he couldn’t speculate about Trump’s future plans.

A Trump advisor said that Trump was more likely than ever to announce his candidacy for president, possibly in early 2023. This is as long as Republicans win at least one chamber of Congress.

"He's really engaged, and ready. The adviser said that Trump has absolutely nothing in his mind. He didn't have the authorization to discuss Trump's mental state publicly and asked for anonymity.

The adviser stated that the CPAC speech was a warm up. He'll be hard at work on the campaign trail. Although technically it's for 2022, 2024 is in his head."

Trump plans to travel to South Carolina, North Carolina and Nevada in the next few months.

Trump will not only campaign for other candidates but may also try to be the kingmaker in the congressional leadership elections. He has already stated that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should be removed. Some people at CPAC want to see Trump or one his chief House allies win the Speakership if Republicans win.

Matt Schlapp, Chairman of the Convention and informal advisor to Trump on the speculation that he might be elected House Speaker, stated, "It's not the best-fitting job for his... except being a yoga teacher." "All I am saying is that if he decides, I believe he gets it."

Schlapp referred to Trump's love at CPAC and said that "He has lost no traction."

Trump's CPAC speech was more forward-looking and Biden-focused. It included criticisms of Trump's handlings of Ukraine, inflation, and security at U.S.-Mexico borders. Trump still indulged in old grievances like the claim that the 2020 election had been stolen.

Trump received loud applause when he said that he was "the only president in the 21st Century on whose watch Russia has not invaded another country."

Russia invaded Georgia under President George W. Bush's administration. Crimea was under President Barack Obama's presidency. Ukraine invaded Georgia last week. Trump stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin was encouraged by the failed U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and that financial and diplomatic sanctions would not deter the Russian autocrat.

A recent poll showed that 62% of voters think Putin wouldn't have invaded Ukraine had Trump been President.

Trump praised Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president. Trump's first impeachment stemmed from the ex-president's attempts to withhold arms in exchange for a Ukrainian investigation into Biden's son and a deal regarding gas-company deals.

Trump played to the crowd's desire for him to run again, and their support for his lie about being robbed in 2020. Trump spoke at one point "As your President," pausing as he was greeted with thunderous applause.

He spoke as a candidate.

He said, "We will make America strong again." We will make America rich again. We will make America stronger again. We will again make America proud. We will make America secure again. We will make America great again.

Trump's dominance in the GOP is not enough to keep Trump's team from pursuing DeSantis, as the governor gains popularity here in Florida, where he lives.

DeSantis is the clear leader in hypothetical polls that test a wide field of 2024 primary rivals, even if Trump does not run. CPAC's straw poll tested a Trumpless primary and DeSantis got 61 percent support. This is an 18-point improvement from the CPAC straw poll last year. At 6 percent, Donald Trump Jr. and Pompeo tied for second. The other candidates were stuck in the single digits.

Recent polling by the University of North Florida showed that Trump was slightly ahead of DeSantis in Florida, with 44 percent compared to 31 percent for a hypothetical GOP presidential primary.

Michael Binder, UNF pollster, stated that "It's an two-phenomenon" in Florida. "DeSantis is actively doing these things. He's governing. He's addressing all the right social issues that are important to his base. A small portion of the Republican Party wants more normalcy, but doesn't want the world to end on Twitter because Trump said something outrageous or insulting. They want to see normal governance again.

Binder said that this dynamic is also hurting Biden. His poll showed Biden with low approval ratings in the state.

Binder stated that Biden is not as effective a communicator than Trump. Many people believe that he isn't up to the task. It can be stressful to watch him speak and root for him. If you are rooting against Biden you can almost feel guilty. It's almost like you're supporting Goliath, not David.

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