Former President Donald Trump received overwhelming support over the weekend from a Republican presidential primary straw poll conducted at a major conservative conference over the weekend, with nearly 90% of respondents choosing Trump as their top candidate for the 2024 election.
A Trafalgar Group poll conducted at the Turning Point Action Conference in West Palm Beach, Florida, found that 87.5% of attendees would choose Trump in the primary — while only 4.3% chose Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
While DeSantis was initially believed to be a strong threat to Trump’s dominance in the GOP primary field, he actually came in third — with businessman Perry Johnson receiving 7.8% support, despite the fact that the conference happened in DeSantis’ home state.
DeSantis did not even attend the event, while Trump did — giving a long speech about several different topics, including his mission “to liberate America from these communists, fascists, Marxists, globalists and warmongers who want to plunder the future of our country.”
"Your historic mission is to liberate America from these communists." President Donald J. Trump at Turning Point Action Conference pic.twitter.com/0ABRxAWXJS
— RSBN 🇺🇸 (@RSBNetwork) July 15, 2023
The Florida governor’s press secretary, Bryan Griffin, released a statement about his decision not to attend the conference.
“Governor DeSantis spent the day with Iowans and spoke to a packed house at the Tennessee GOP Statesman Dinner later that night. This was a day after he delivered the strongest interview at the Family Leadership Summit, which Donald Trump notably skipped. Ron DeSantis is campaigning to win,” the statement read.
DeSantis’ loss of momentum was also shown in the Trafalgar poll’s question about attendees’ second-place choice for the primary. While many prominent candidates were included in the poll — such as DeSantis and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) — attendees ultimately chose author and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who also spoke at the conference.
Ramaswamy received roughly 51% support as a second preference, while Trump received 21% support and DeSantis received 13.5%.
Turning Point founder and CEO Charlie Kirk discussed the results of the poll in a statement to the Washington Examiner.
“The straw poll demonstrates that President Trump remains the single most dominant force among the conservative grassroots,” the statement read. “All the attacks against him have seemingly made him even stronger and more popular among the conservative faithful.”
“What’s also clear is that Governor DeSantis’ decision not to come to this event probably hurt his showing in this poll. There are a lot of people here who have a lot of respect for the governor and what he’s done in Florida, but I was approached multiple times by attendees telling me they were disappointed he didn’t come, and that’s evident in the poll results,” the statement continued. “Vivek showed up and gave a great speech, and he was the clear second-choice favorite among our people.”
Vivek really showed up this weekend and the Turning Point Action straw poll results prove it. 51% of respondents picked this man as their 2nd choice candidate. Pretty remarkable how far he’s come in a very short amount of time. https://t.co/yJzke2HdA2
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) July 16, 2023
Two other GOP presidential candidates spoke during the conference, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. Other candidates received invites but chose not to attend, including DeSantis, Scott, former Vice President Mike Pence and former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
The poll also asked respondents about their choice for vice president. Kari Lake received 30% of the vote, while Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) received 24% and Ramaswamy received 22%.
Roughly half of the event’s attendees, or 3,000 people, responded to the poll. Half of the people attending the conference were between the ages of 18-21, while the rest were of varying ages.