At CPAC, thousands of conservative activists, organizations, and elected officials gathered to hear invited speakers like Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake. The group also conducted a poll asking attendees which Republican candidate they would most likely support in the next presidential election.
When CPAC provided attendees with a list of 19 conservative candidates, 69 percent selected former President Donald Trump as their choice for the next presidential nominee. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis received 24 percent of the vote, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) came in a distant third with 2 percent.
Six other candidates registered 0 percent support, including Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Gov. Abbott.
Recently, Abbott came under fire for his handling of the humanitarian crisis along Texas’ southern border, as this fiscal year is on track to break the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) record for encounters with illegal aliens. Of the more than 1.7 million illegal border crossers CBP encountered this year, 50 were in the U.S. Terrorist Screening Database, compared to 15 terrorists apprehended in 2021.
In response to the worsening crisis, several Texas border counties declared an invasion. Officials also implored Abbott to take action and enact Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, allowing states to defend themselves from an invasion if the federal government fails to provide protection. So far, Abbott has yet to declare an invasion along the border.
However, earlier this year, Abbott announced a plan to bus illegal migrants from Texas to Washington, D.C., for the Biden administration to “more immediately address the needs of the people that they are allowing to come across our border.” Over the past few months, Abbott sent 5,100 illegal aliens to D.C. in what Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake called a “cute photo op.”
Despite this move by Abbott, CPAC’s poll results appear to show that conservatives across the country prefer Trump’s and DeSantis’ governing styles, with more than 99 percent of attendees approving of Trump’s presidential record. Additionally, when asked who they preferred as a potential running mate for Trump in 2024, 43 percent chose DeSantis.
DeSantis recently received national attention for a Florida bill enshrining parents’ right in education, prohibiting teachers from discussing gender identity in grades K-3. Conservatives across the country also expressed support for DeSantis “going on offense” when dealing with corporations like Disney.
Following DeSantis in the poll for Trump’s next vice president, 9 percent selected South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, 7 percent chose former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and 4 percent preferred Sen. Ted Cruz. As in the presidential poll, Abbott received no support from attendees.
With the 2024 presidential election less than two years away, CPAC’s presidential poll results seem to demonstrate continued widespread support for Trump, and little enthusiasm for Abbott, on the national stage.