The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) concluded in Orlando, Florida, this week with a rousing speech from former President Donald Trump.
As reported by The Hill, his address came on the heels of a poll that delivered some good news for the former president: the straw poll of CPAC attendees found that 55% would back Trump should he choose to make a 2024 primary run for president.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came in second at 21%, and Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem finished a distant third at 4%.
Trump’s policies very popular
No candidate received an absolute majority of the vote when Trump was removed as an option, but DeSantis came closest with 43%, while Noem’s share increased to 11%, according to Forbes.
Donald Trump, Jr. came in third at 8%, while former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tied with 7%.
“So again you see how important to everybody here — the grassroots, the base of the conservative movement, the base of the Republican Party — it is either President Trump or a Trump candidate,” said pollster Jim McLaughlin, who announced the results at CPAC, according to The Hill.
Even many of those who did not cast a vote for Trump in the poll still appear to view the president favorably, with nearly 7 in 10 saying they would like to see him make another run.
Furthermore, support for the former president’s policy positions was even stronger, with 95% of respondents expressing a desire to see the GOP continue pursuing a Trumpian agenda.
Trump shuts down third party rumors
During his keynote speech to close out the event on Sunday, Trump addressed a number of issues of concern to conservative voters including electoral reform, cancel culture, and the participation of transgender athletes in women’s sports.
The 45th president also dismissed rumors that he had any intention of creating a third party, calling such suggestions “fake news.”
“We’re not starting new parties. They kept saying, ‘He’s going to start a brand new party.’ We have the Republican party it’s going to unite and be stronger than ever before,” Trump told the crowd, as Fox News reported.
“Wouldn’t that be brilliant?” the former president said sarcastically. “Let’s start a new party and let’s divide our vote so that you can never win. No, we’re not interested in that.”