Saturday 6 August 2022 10:16 PM Conservatives at CPAC conference believe Gavin Newsom will be Democratic ... trends now
A straw poll of conservatives revealed on Saturday that Donald Trump retains his strong grip on the party grassroots, but also found that Gavin Newsom is viewed by many as the likely Democratic runner in 2024.
Only four percent of attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas Texas thought that President Joe Biden will be on the ticket.
In contrast, 37 percent said they believed the California governor - who has been dinging Republican governors in Texas and Florida with newspaper and TV ads - will win the Democratic nomination.
'You're saying it's going to be Gavin Newsom,' said pollster Jim McLaughlin to the crowd.
'What jumps out at me? Only eight percent think it's gonna be Joe Biden.;
The White House has repeatedly said that Biden plans to run for a second term, despite misgivings among many in his party who think at age 82 he would be too old for another inauguration.
Less surprising was that the overwhelmingly hard right crowd plumped for Trump as the Republican nominee. He won 69 percent to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' 24 percent.
Conservatives at CPAC Texas see a 2024 election being fought between California Gov. Gavin Newsom and former President Donald Trump
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was the second most popular Republican candidate in the straw poll
Last time around, in Florida in February, Trump's lead was narrower - 59 to 28 - probably a reflection that the poll was in DeSantis' home state.
Trump has yet to declare a run, but has repeatedly hinted that he will stand again.
While he retains a strong grip on the grassroots of the party, some key donors and leaders fear his unfounded complaints of election rigging will turn off independents and swing voters.
That he would win the CPAC straw poll was never in doubt.
But the poll also showed how attendees had lapped up the Trump agenda.
It found that they ranked election integrity and the border wall as the two most important issues.
The exhibitors' hall at the Hilton Anatole hotel, was filled with Trump merchandise, MAGA hats were everywhere and the former president's likeness could be seen on cardboard cutouts and T-shirts.
The conference heard from speaker after speaker who claimed that Trump was the best candidate to win back the White House.
Britain's Nigel Farage said Trump had lost 20lb and looked like he had lost the weight of the world from his shoulders. I believe Donald Trump is the man to go out there and fight on behalf of America and the Western world,' he told an enthusiastic CPAC crowd
'I believe that you in the conservative movement in this country are very lucky to have a man who since he left office looks like he's lost about 20 pounds,' said Nigel Farage, Britain's best-known Brexit campaigner, whose 2016 referendum win came months before Trump's victory.
'The weight of the world is coming off his shoulders. His nominees are winning the primaries, and I believe Donald Trump is the man to go out there and fight on behalf of America and the Western world.'
The key question for attendees was not so much who should run in 2024, but what DeSantis - who occupies the same political territory as Trump with a younger face - should do with his new national profile.
Shane Trejo, of Republicans for Renewal, said both men were the sort of leaders that the grassroots party should be trying to emulate.
'I think it would make a lot of sense for Trump to run in 2024 and then DeSantis to finish what he's doing in Florida, make Florida a red state for generations to come, and then run in 2028,' said Trejo.
'DeSantis is a young man... that