Donald Trump has long been a Republican frontrunner, with the former president remaining popular among GOP voters.
And while Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has often been touted as the person most likely to challenge Trump for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, a Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll suggests that Trump could have the advantage.
About 69% of attendees chose Trump when asked who they preferred as the Republican candidate for president in 2024, according to results reported on the CPAC state ahead of Trump’s speech on Saturday.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis came second, with about 24%, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz came third with 2%.
However, DeSantis was the clear frontrunner in an area that doesn’t include Trump. CPAC’s poll found that 65% choose DeSantis if that were the case, with Donald Trump Jr. coming in second with 8% of the vote and Cruz in third place with 6%.
Trump has consistently topped CPAC’s informal polls since leaving office.
The latest poll saw him widen his lead from February’s CPAC poll where Trump got 59% of the vote while DeSantis got 28%.
In a fictional CPAC poll conducted about a month after he left office, 55% of those polled said they would support Trump in a hypothetical 2024 primary, while 21% chose DeSantis.
However, other recent polls suggest DeSantis could beat Trump for the GOP nomination in 2024.
A survey by WDIV and Detroit News found that DeSantis trails Trump by about three points among likely Republican voters in Michigan. This survey found that Trump held a large lead among high school-educated voters, and DeSantis was ahead of college-educated voters.
Meanwhile, a recent survey by Blueprint Polling found more Florida Republicans backing DeSantis as their party’s nominee over Trump.
And a survey by The New York Times/Siena College suggested that Trump’s grip on the party base had begun to weaken, with less than half (49%) of GOP voters backing him as their preferred choice.
Trump has long teased running for a second term in 2024.
And he said New York Review last month that he debated whether to announce his run before or after the November midterms. “Do I go before or after? It will be my big decision,” he said.
Meanwhile, there’s no doubt DeSantis is positioning himself to run for the White House, Newsweek reported earlier this year.
“On the Republican Party circuit, whether in DC or in the suburbs, DeSantis is the first name that comes up when people start talking about 2024,” said Jim Dornan, a veteran GOP strategist who worked on the committee. Trump’s exploratory campaign in 2015 and is advising Republican candidates in Oregon, Maryland and California this year.
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s spokeswoman and DeSantis’ publicist for comment.