Analysis: Despite Trump’s win, CPAC straw poll may bode better for DeSantis

by mcardinal

Samuel Case, FISM News


CPAC’s latest straw poll showed former President Donald Trump as the clear front runner in the Republican presidential primaries, walking away with 59% of the vote, with Florida governor Ron DeSantis trailing in second with 28%.  While the results were met with glee by many Trump supporters, history suggests that this year’s results indicate DeSantis, not Trump, will be the Republican candidate in the 2024 Presidential election. 

It may be counterintuitive, but not a single winner of the CPAC straw poll during a midterm cycle has landed the nomination since Ronald Reagan, while, with one exception, every single Republican nominee came in second place.

The trend began in 1986 when George H.W. Bush came in second to Jack Kemp. Bush went on to clinch the nomination, while not even landing in the top two in 1987. In the 90’s Bob Dole was defeated by Phil Graham in 1995 (a straw poll was taken in 1994), with Dole becoming the nominee in 1996. Likewise, George W. Bush was second to Steve Forbes in 1996, John McCain to George Allen in 2006, and Mitt Romney to Ron Paul in 2010.

The 2016 election cycle is the exception. The 2014 poll placed Rand Paul in first and Ted Cruz in second. However, while it was Donald Trump who went on to become the eventual nominee, the midterm trend remained somewhat consistent, as it was Cruz who was the top pick in the 2016 straw poll.

It should be noted that what broke the trend in 2016 was Trump’s candidacy and it’s possible that in 2024 (should he choose to run) his campaign will remain an outlier. 

In addition, Trump held a 31-point lead over DeSantis in the poll – the largest midterm on available record.