Attendees at a major conservative conference over the weekend overwhelmingly voted for former President Donald Trump in a Republican presidential primary straw poll.
According to the Trafalgar Group poll, attendees at the Turning Point Action Conference in West Palm Beach, Florida, chose Trump at 87.5% among Republican candidates and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at only 4.3%.
DeSantis actually came in third behind businessman Perry Johnson, who garnered 7.8%, despite the conference happening in the governor’s state.
About 3,000 attendees responded to the poll, half of the approximate 6,000 total attendees. Half of the attendees were between the ages of 18-21, while the other half were of varying ages.
Trump attended the event on Saturday, delivering a lengthy speech that covered a number of different topics. Meanwhile, DeSantis did not attend the event in his home state.
His campaign press secretary Bryan Griffin said in a statement to the Washington Examiner:
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.
For attendees’ second preference, half of the respondents chose Vivek Ramaswamy, who also spoke at the conference and was swarmed by attendees afterwards. Twenty-one percent named Trump as their second choice, and 13.5% chose DeSantis.
Turning Point founder and CEO Charlie Kirk told the Examiner:
The straw poll demonstrates that President Trump remains the single most dominant force among the conservative grassroots. All the attacks against him have seemingly made him even stronger and more popular among the conservative faithful.
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
Kirk added that conference goers expressed to him disappointment that DeSantis did not come.
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. … Vivek showed up and gave a great speech, and he was the clear second-choice favorite among our people.”
Kirk called the event and attendees the “pulse of the grassroots.”
Two other Republican presidential candidates spoke at the event — former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, and DeSantis were all reportedly invited.
As far as vice president, 30% percent of respondents said Kari Lake, 24% said Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), and 22% said Ramaswamy.
There was still “measurable” support for DeSantis at the conference, according to a “source involved with the event.” The source cited a large cardboard cutout of the governor’s face outside the main hall with some supporters posting positive messages and thoughts.
The poll from Trafalgar also found that more than 95% of respondents were against U.S. involvement in the war with Ukraine, that the southern border was the “most important issue” facing America, and a majority saying they were excited about the Republican National Committee’s primary debate in August.
Notably, about 66% said they did not trust the RNC to get voters to the polls in 2024, according to the report, and a huge 77% majority said they do not plan to donate to the RNC. Nearly 90% favored early voting and vote banking.