NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.—Attendees at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, in their annual straw poll, rated Bernie Sanders as the biggest threat to President Trump’s re-election.
As per tradition, the premier conservative conference included a straw poll, which asked attendees to assess the president’s performance, share their feelings on administration policies–such as the economy and immigration reform–and give predictions for the 2020 election.
CPAC attendees gave the president a 95 percent approval rating — an all-time high at CPAC.
Thirty-four percent of attendees, meanwhile, ranked self-described democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the current front-runner in the crowded Democratic field, as the toughest for Trump to beat in November, with 23 percent of CPAC attendees saying former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg would be the toughest, and 9 percent picking former Vice President Joe Biden.
Just .2 percent of CPAC attendees ranked Tom Steyer as the biggest threat, and 2 percent picked Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
The straw poll took place on the final day of CPAC—which also is the day of the South Carolina Democratic primary.
Sanders has nearly swept the early contests thus far, with a virtual tie in the Iowa caucuses, a win in the New Hampshire primary, and a win in the Nevada Caucuses last weekend. Should Sanders have the chance to claim victory in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, it would intensify his momentum leading into Super Tuesday on March 3. But Biden has led going into Saturday’s contest.
President Trump, during his CPAC speech, took a “poll” of the audience that seemed to give a different sense of the 2020 field, however.
He asked them to “scream like hell” for the candidate “you think I should run against…in other words, because we’re going to beat him,” giving the audience the choice between Sanders and Biden.
CPAC attendees screamed louder for Sanders, giving a standing ovation.
“Joe’s not going to be running the government — he’s going to be sitting in a home somewhere,” Trump, 73, remarked after the poll, but noted in his speech that he predicted Biden, who is 77, would “have a big win” in Saturday’s South Carolina primary.
In the straw poll, 80 percent of CPAC attendees also said their life had improved since Trump took office; with 84 percent of CPAC attendees saying they feel “safer.” Ninety-seven percent of CPAC attendees said that Democrats were “wrong” in impeaching Trump, while 77 percent of CPAC attendees also said they wanted Republicans to do “more to support Trump.”