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DeSantis, besting Trump, wins Western Conservative Summit 2024 straw poll by 3 points

Jun. 19, 2021

LAKEWOOD, Col. — A non-partisan straw poll taken during this weekend’s 2021 Western Conservative Summit showed 74% of poll participants prefer Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over Donald Trump (71%) as a candidate for president of the United States in the 2024 election. Neither DeSantis nor Trump spoke at the event.

The Centennial Institute, Colorado Christian University’s public policy think tank, hosts the annual Western Conservative Summit, the largest annual gathering of conservatives in the western United States. This year’s Summit was held live in-person and online.

The straw poll employed an “approval method” that allowed participants to vote for multiple responses to each question. The method ensures poll results more accurately reflect attendees’ opinions.

Question one asked Summit attendees to vote for all the 2024 presidential candidates they approve of out of 31 choices of popular figures across the political spectrum. Candidates listed included both Republican and Democratic candidates. The top five candidates, in order of most approval to least, were: Ron DeSantis (74%), Donald Trump (71%), Sen. Ted Cruz (43%), Mike Pompeo (39%), Sen. Tim Scott (36%). Former Vice President Pence came in tenth place.  

Question two asked attendees to mark any of 25 policy issues as most important to them. The top five most important issues were: Immigration/Border Security (82%), Election Integrity (79%), Religious Freedom (75%), Federal Budget/Deficit (74%) and Gun Rights (74%).

The 2021 Western Conservative Summit highlighted “Frontier Freedom,” emphasizing the grandeur, spirit and conservative values of the American West. Live speakers included former acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, Antifa-exposing journalist Andy Ngo, Sen. Rick Santorum, Rep. Lauren Boebert, Colorado baker Jack Phillips, Lila Rose, Brandon Tatum and Victor Davis Hanson. 

Also among the speakers was former Trump administration DHS official Chad Wolf, who chided Vice President Harris for not visiting the border, saying, “Simply put, VP Harris is unqualified to address this national crisis.”

Six mini-documentaries were debuted showcasing important western issues such as energy independence, the 2nd Amendment, education, young conservative leaders, western lands and the American rodeo.

Jeff Hunt, director of the Centennial Institute, is available for comment or interview on the straw poll or this weekend’s Summit.

The 2021 Western Conservative Summit Approval Voting Poll results can be viewed here.

More information on the Centennial Institute is available here

More information on the 2020 Western Conservative Summit is available here.

The Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University works to enhance public understanding of the most important issues relating to faith, family, and freedom. As part of this endeavor, the Institute focuses its efforts on conducting research, analyzing public policy options and sponsoring seminars, conferences, and other activities that involve students, faculty, staff and outside experts. Each summer, it is the host of the nation’s largest annual conservative gathering west of the Mississippi, the Western Conservative Summit.

The Centennial Institute is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization that does not endorse or oppose any candidate or political party for public office.