In a recent poll by the Western Conservative Summit, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis defeated former president Donald Trump for the 2024 preferred presidential candidate slot. He led the vote with about 75% compared to Trump’s 72%. The summit was sponsored by Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute and drew about 500 people, plus thousands of viewers who watched the event online.
The poll included other Republican presidential contenders including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton. They trailed the votes with about 30-40% polling support. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul nabbed 29% support in the polls, Donald Trump Jr received about 25% and former President Mike Pence came in with 21%.
Frank Attwood, who runs Approval Voting USA and conducted the poll, said that the voting method allowed people to pick multiple candidates, which “minimizes spoilers and sabotage and gives viability and visibility to minor candidates.” Because of that, the percentages could add up to more than 100.
The polling included a question that asked attendees to mark any of the 25 policy issues that are most important to them. The top five most important issues were immigration/border security, election integrity, religious freedom, federal budget/deficit, and gun rights. The poll also asked respondents if they would vote for Trump if he ran again. 55% of respondents said that they would, followed by 21% for DeSantis and 4% for South Dakota Kristi Noem.
In 2014 and 2015, the polls pointed to Dr. Ben Carson as the leading Republican nominee but in 2016, they correctly picked Trump. It had picked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as his vice president. And while more people have claimed that Trump has his eyes on the Speaker of the House position in 2022, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he would rather see Trump back in the Oval Office.
DeSantis has received a significant amount of attention over the last few months and is a popular contender for carrying on Trump-era policies. He has been a vocal supporter of helping the crisis along the southwest border, fighting against Big Tech, cracking down on vaccine passports, and protecting female sports from transgender athletes.
DeSantis recently teamed up with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and ordered Florida law enforcement officers to help at the southern border in both Texas and Arizona. He criticized the Biden Administration for their lack of support and turning a blind eye to the struggling states. While some critics have claimed that the elected officials are trying to win a “Trump impersonation contest” with their actions, others emphasized the importance of both candidates for next year’s elections.
“I don’t think they are out-Trumping each other. I think they are racing to align themselves better with the heart and soul of the Republican base, which is emerging post-COVID pissed off at the sharp leftward shift of the Biden administration and desperate to reclaim freedoms that were taken from them by the healthcare bureaucracy. And the reason I say that is I don’t think Trump has made himself all that relevant to the discussion since Jan. 6,” said GOP strategist John Feehery.
Gov. DeSantis has made it clear that he wants to secure our border, keep Americans safe, reopen schools, and get the economy back on track. The biggest obstacle for DeSantis won’t be his policies, but the corporate social media and censorship bias. He will appeal to Trump voters because he’s got that fight in him and courage to do what is right, and will only grow from here. The polls prove that.