For the first time, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis emerged victorious over former President Donald Trump in a straw poll carried out at this year’s Young Republican National Convention in August.
Organized by the Young Republican National Federation (YRNF), the annual Young Republican National Convention convention took place from August 16 to August 20 in Dallas, Texas.
Who Are the YRNF?
The YRNF is a group for individuals aged 18 to 40 who align with the Republican party and, according to their website, aim to better their understanding of current political issues.
What Was at the Convention
Throughout the five-day event, attendees were able to listen to speeches from prominent figures like Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Florida Congresswoman Kat Cammack, and former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.
During the convention, a poll was conducted on the attendees to see who they wanted to be the next president of the United States.
Trump Loses Favor
The poll revealed that 36.6 percent of participants favored DeSantis as the potential next Republican presidential candidate, whereas Trump only had 35.4 percent of the vote.
The Other Candidates
The remaining top five candidates in the GOP poll were businessman Vivek Ramaswamy (9.1 percent), former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (7.5 percent), and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott (5.5 percent).
Hayden Padgett, the newly elected chairman of YRNF, told Newsweek that around 850 people, from 21 to 40 years old, attended the convention and voted in the poll. Padgett emphasized that the poll’s intention was purely for entertainment within the group despite the criticisms it has gotten from other Republicans online.
Backlash to the Poll
One social media user commented on the poll’s results by saying, “Clearest sign yet that Trump lead is solid. He has the eccentric wing of the GOP locked up (e.g., populist, nationalist, paleo, etc.). He’s weakest among estab/Brooks Brothers wing (e.g., YRs, CRs, neo, Wall St.). If only trailing by 1.2 points among YRs, he seems dominant.”
Despite the controversy, the chairman also told Newsweek, “I love the debates on the Presidential election that were held during the convention and now again on Twitter.
He also gave an unexpected nod toward Biden and said. “It shows how much excitement our members have to take on [President Joe] Biden next year.”
A Dip in Trump’s Support
In recent months, Trump has generally maintained a substantial lead over DeSantis and other GOP contenders.
However, a recent Emerson College poll tracking the 2024 election since last summer shows a fall in Trump support.
Trump Still in the Lead
Despite the fall in support, however, the former president still enjoyed the backing of 50 percent of Republican voters in the Emerson poll, leading DeSantis by a margin of 38 points.
The Youth Have Something to Say
Nonetheless, the youth of the American population could hold a significant influence in the upcoming election, as shown by their impact in many recent elections.
The Brookings Institution Analysis
The Brookings Institution projected that if voters under 45 turn out at the same rate in 2024 as they did in 2020, they might make up nearly half of the overall vote in the upcoming general election.
Voter’s interest in younger candidates also seems clear among Republican voters.
Polls conducted before the initial GOP primary debate showed that the two youngest contenders on stage—DeSantis, aged 44, and Ramaswamy, aged 38—were deemed the “winners” of the two-hour event.
Views on the Debates
One survey conducted by The Washington Post/FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos revealed that 29 percent of surveyed Republican voters believed DeSantis performed the best, while 26 percent favored Ramaswamy.
Whereas Trump, aged 77, was absent from the initial primary debate.
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