Former President Donald Trump remains the overwhelming choice for Wyoming Republicans.
That’s what the results of a recent mail-in poll conducted by the Wyoming Republican Party shows, with 70% of the 226 who responded expressing support for Trump in the upcoming 2024 election, which is less than a year away.
Kathy Russell, executive director of the Wyoming GOP, said the poll was mailed to current and past Republican donors and required participants to mail back their responses.
A distant second was Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with about 12% support. In third was former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley with 5%. One voter expressed support for Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Still Trump Stronghold
The poll results show that Trump’s support hasn’t changed much among Wyoming Republicans. In 2020, the former president received 70% of Wyoming’s vote against President Joe Biden. In 2016, he received 68% against Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton. Republicans hold an overwhelming majority in the Cowboy State.
Trump was soundly defeated in the 2016 presidential county caucuses in Wyoming, and the state GOP gave 15 of its 17 delegates to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz that year.
Trump’s support in Wyoming fares better than his polling numbers among Republicans nationwide.
A CBS News poll released earlier this week shows that 61% of Republicans nationally support Trump, way ahead of DeSantis with 18%.
Trump has gained ground on Biden in recent weeks. A Monday New York Times poll shows Trump beating Biden in five of the six most important battleground states in the 2024 election.
Will The Plot Thicken?
With former Vice President Mike Pence and other candidates recently dropping out of the race for the Republican nomination, some have speculated that the Republican primary race could become more competitive as voters start to coalesce, but it doesn’t appear this has had a meaningful impact on Trump’s lead so far.
The CBS poll found that 54% of voters say the indictments against Trump do nothing to change their opinion about him, and 34% say it improves their opinion of him.
Many Trump supporters also say the federal and state charges brought against him in court are partisan politics, and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot as a minor or even justified event that Trump played no negative role in.
In a Wednesday Politico story, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso said that, “It looks right now it’s going to be Donald Trump” on the Republican ticket for the White House. Barrasso is remaining neutral in the primary, but said he will “enthusiastically” support Trump if he wins the nomination.
Barrasso’s fellow Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis said “the door is starting to close” on the primary, and that Trump’s increasing support should show Democrats that “Trump is going to be extremely difficult to beat.”
When asked about the No Labels third party political movement that has been attempting to make inroads in Wyoming, Lummis told Cowboy State Daily that although she finds their efforts “admirable,” she questions if they will fill any need for Republican voters.
“In Wyoming, I don’t think they can find a peg to hang their hat on,” she said.
Some national pundits have speculated that “Never Trumper” Republicans will simply stay home or vote for a third-party candidate on Election Day rather than voting for Trump. If this happens in Wyoming and the same number of people turn out to vote as in 2020, Trump would still beat Biden in a theoretical rematch with 64% of the vote.
The CBS poll found that 61% of Republican voters currently supporting a candidate other than Trump would still not vote for him if he got the party’s nomination.
The Wyoming GOP poll also asked voters what they think are the most important issues heading into the 2024 election, offering seven topics that ranged from parental rights and abortion to border security.
Tied for first was jobs and the economy, and border security. Debt and the nation’s deficit was the next priority, followed by crime and drugs.
Answers were slightly different when voters were asked on what issues they want the Republican Party to spend their time on.
The top issue there was voter ID verification and turnout, which drew a short applause at Saturday’s state GOP meeting when the poll results were discussed.
The next top priority for Wyoming Republicans is ballot security.
Russell said when she first got involved in the party, it was singularly focused on raising money.
In recent years, the party has become much more engaged on policy issues and lobbying the state Legislature. It also has taken to openly criticizing and censuring members of its own party with increasing frequency.
“You are making a difference and you’re making national news because of it, keep it going” Russell said. “We are the champions of so many people.”
Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.