President Trump is the early leader among conservatives for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination, according to The Washington Times/CPAC poll released Sunday — but even if he’s not at the top of the ticket, conservatives said the Trump agenda must be continued.
Asked flatly whether they want to see Mr. Trump run again, 68% said “Yes,” making him the clear leader.
And when stacked up against a list of 17 other names in the straw poll, Mr. Trump was the pick of 55%, distantly followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who likely enjoyed a favorite son advantage at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, being held in Orlando.
No other candidate topped 5% in the poll.
Even more important than Mr. Trump himself, though, is the agenda he blazed. A stunning 95% of those polled said the GOP must continue to pursue the issues the former president did.
Mr. Trump also had a 97% approval rating.
“He’s literally the most popular figure we have ever had in the conservative movement,” said Jim McLaughlin, the pollster who conducted the survey.
Mr. McLaughlin said those numbers should be a caution to Republicans in Washington who have said the party needs to move beyond Mr. Trump. Grassroots conservatives, he said, “believe that the Trump agenda is the future of the Republican Party.”
Adding to that sense, CPAC attendees were decidedly less enamored with Republicans in Congress. More than 93% said GOP lawmakers aren’t doing enough to fight President Biden in Washington.
The poll included 1,007 attendees at CPAC, which ran from Thursday to Sunday in Orlando, a new location to get around coronavirus restrictions that would have limited the usual locations in the Washington, D.C., area.
A staggering 93% of those polled said voter fraud helped Mr. Biden prevail in last year’s election.
Election integrity also led the list of issues conservatives care about, with 62% naming it as a top-three issue. Constitutional rights was second, with immigration third.
“The Make American Great Again movement is the conservative movement. That is the base of our party,” Mr. McLaughlin said from the CPAC stage after announcing the straw poll results.
This year’s survey posed two 2024 straw poll questions — one with Mr. Trump’s name included, and one without.
When he was on the list, he got 55% of the vote, Mr. DeSantis got 21%, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem was third with 4%, and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Hayley garnered 3%. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Ted Cruz followed at 2%, and no other candidate cracked that mark.
Other notable names were Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who was eighth in one poll and sixth in another, and former Vice President Mike Pence, who was 10th in the poll with Mr. Trump’s name and didn’t make the top 10 in the poll without.
• S.A. Miller reported from Orlando