- Donald Trump was the winner of the Conservative Political Action Conference’s (CPAC) 2024 Republican presidential straw poll Sunday, garnering 55%
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was the only other candidate to poll in double digits at 21%
- As a result, DeSantis saw his average odds of winning the 2024 GOP Presidential nomination shorten from +1300 to +550
Perhaps it can be chalked up to home-field advantage. Whatever the case, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was the only person not named Donald Trump who proved capable of dramatically moving the needle during CPAC in Orlando, Fla.
As the conference reached a conclusion on Sunday, the annual gathering of the movers and shakers among America’s conservatives held a straw poll to determine their favorite for the 2024 GOP Presidential nomination.
Not surprisingly, Donald Trump garnered the lion’s share of the votes. He drew 55% support. The only other contender to reach double digits in the poll was DeSantis. He came in at 21%.
DeSantis make a bold move in the 2024 Republican nomination odds. His betting line shortened from +1300 to +550.
2024 Republican Presidential Nomination Odds
|Candidate||Mar. 1st Odds||Feb. 17th Odds||Trending|
|Donald Trump Sr||+275||+525||↓|
|Donald Trump Jr||+2250||+25000||↓|
Odds as of Mar. 1st.
Trump, the Republican nominee for the past two election cycles, remains the favorite. He also saw his odds shorten. Trump improved to +275 from +525.
DeSantis a Conservative Hero
By basically deciding to disregard the advice of experts, ignore COVID-19 and keep his state completely open, DeSantis has become a hero among the conservative science deniers. Several speakers at CPAC gave specific shoutouts to DeSantis for his pandemic response.
Certainly, being at the forefront in his home state didn’t hurt the popularity movement in favor of DeSantis one bit.
#CPAC2021 poll w/o Trump
Ron DeSantis: 43%
Kristi Noem: 11%
Don Jr: 8%
Mike Pompeo: 7%
Ted Cruz: 7%
Tucker Carlson: 3%
Josh Hawley: 3%
Nikki Haley: 3%
Rand Paul: 2%
… and Mike Pence: 1%
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) February 28, 2021
Perhaps what was the most interesting development during Sunday’s straw poll was what took place when Trump’s named was removed from the equation. In a second poll to determine who’d be the favorite if Trump doesn’t run in 2024, DeSantis mopped up the field.
He scored 43% of the vote. Second in balloting was South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (11%).
Donald Trump Jr. was third with 8% support. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas both finished at 7%. Former Vice-President Mike Pence garnered a paltry 1% of support.
Delivers Fiery Speech
DeSantis was the opening speaker at CPAC and he didn’t disappoint. He got the gathering frothing with a fiery speech that played to the notions of the crowd.
The Governor of the Sunshine State declared Florida to be an oasis of freedom in a country mired in oppressive lockdowns. Clearly, DeSantis was taking full advantage of the pulpit he was provided by his state being the host to this event.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis opening for CPAC: "We cannot, we will not go back to the day of the failed Republican establishment of yesteryear."
— Caitlin Huey-Burns (@CHueyBurns) February 26, 2021
What does it mean long-term in the GOP race to regain the White House? Not much, really. Had CPAC taken place in Texas, for instance, there would’ve likely been a similar movement in Cruz’s odds.
Being the early frontrunner is no guarantee of a first-place finish. Joe Biden, the current occupant of the Oval Office, could tell them all about that fact of life.