ORLANDO, Feb 28 — Former US president Donald Trump easily won Sunday’s Republican straw poll of who is favoured to be the party’s 2024 White House nominee, conducted at an annual convention of grassroots conservatives.

Trump received some 59 per cent support from attendees of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held in Orlando, Florida. He handily beat that state’s governor Ron DeSantis, who stood in second place with 28 per cent and is considered a leading rival to a potential Trump presidential run.

Ninety-seven per cent of the 2,574 respondents said they approved of Trump’s performance in office, while 99 per cent opposed the work of the current president, Joe Biden.

The results are unsurprising, given Trump’s popularity within the far-right wing of the Republican Party. 

But the broader political world has been watching closely for any signs that Republicans might be ready to jettison the twice-impeached Trump and elevate newer conservative voices to the national stage ahead of the 2024 election.

In the hypothetical case that Trump does not run, 61 per cent of respondents said they would back DeSantis in the party’s presidential primary, far ahead of ex-secretary of state Mike Pompeo and Donald Trump Jr., each of whom received 6 per cent support.

Trump received rapt applause Saturday when he addressed CPAC, reprising his false claims of a stolen 2020 election and praising a “smart” Vladimir Putin despite the Russian president overseeing a deadly invasion of Ukraine. — AFP