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Philip Wegmann Opinion: Straw Poll Shows Young Trump Voters Want Carlson or Vivek as VP

Young Republican voters overwhelmingly want Donald Trump to be the GOP nominee in 2024, and they only disagree on whether he should choose Tucker Carlson or Vivek Ramaswamy as his running mate, according to a straw poll of participants who attended Turning Point Action’s annual AmericaFest.

Obtained exclusively by RealClearPolitics, the results provide a snapshot of the youth vote just weeks before the Iowa caucuses. The online poll was conducted by Turning Point Action Dec. 17-18 and surveyed 1,113 attendees at the TPUSA conference in Phoenix, Ariz.

The results show Trump as the clear favorite with 82.6 percent of respondents choosing the former president as their first choice. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finished second with 7.6 percent, while Vivek Ramaswamy followed closely in third with 5.8 percent. Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor who has garnered national media attention and a recent bump in momentum, finished fifth.

Barely more than 1 percent, or 12 voters, at the Trump-friendly event said they preferred Haley compared to the 2.5 percent who remained “undecided.”

The topline results are not surprising given that the founder of Turning Point USA, Charlie Kirk, remains an ardent ally of the former president and previously served as the CEO of Students for Trump. But the survey sheds light on a question currently dominating Trump world.

When asked whom Trump should choose as his vice president if he wins the nomination, 35 percent, a plurality, settled on former Fox News personality Tucker Carlson. Another 25.7 percent, meanwhile, preferred Ramaswamy. Both men made headlines with their remarks at the conference.

Ramaswamy responded from the main stage to criticism from CNN host Van Jones, who called him a demagogue earlier this month. “Just shut the f–k up,” the businessman-turned-politician said to applause. For his part, Carlson downplayed the idea of entering politics himself.

“It’s like the weather,” the pundit replied when asked about joining the ticket with Trump. “I can’t control it,” Carlson said after floating Ramaswamy instead for VP. “I don’t think I’d be that great at that.”

On the eve of the primary, the results reflect the policy appetites of the right-leaning youth. Attendees ranked border security and “deporting Biden-era illegal immigrants” as their top priority ahead of “election integrity” and “defunding the deep state,” which ranked second and third. Meanwhile, ending diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives from the government, which has been a calling card of the DeSantis campaign, ranked as their lowest priority.

Mirroring a larger shift on the right, the survey also shows a youth vote increasingly skeptical of foreign aid to Ukraine but largely supportive of Israel’s war with Hamas. A clear majority, 55.4 percent, backed giving lethal aid to Tel Aviv, less than 1 percent supported sending the same to Kyiv, and 39.4 percent responded that the United States shouldn’t provide such supplies to either Israel or Ukraine.

Congress generally earns poor approval ratings, but the young Republicans seemed to like newly minted House Speaker Mike Johnson, with 57 percent either somewhat or strongly approving of his job performance. They were somewhat split, meanwhile, on whether the House should have expelled former New York Rep. George Santos, who made numerous false representations about himself during the previous election.

While 32 percent approved of the Santos expulsion, 47 percent disapproved of the history-making move which had only occurred five times previously.

The same week that the House approved an impeachment inquiry of President Biden, 49.6 percent said that they supported removing him from office. Another 24.3 percent reported that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas should be impeached, while 15.2 percent wanted Attorney General Merrick Garland gone.

As both parties court the youth vote, the survey found that young Republicans in the Turning Point orbit are unsatisfied with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. An overwhelming 87 percent said that she should step down, and 56 percent reported that her departure would make them “more likely” to donate to the party. Charlie Kirk supported Harmeet Dhillon in her unsuccessful challenge of McDaniel earlier this year.

This article was originally published by RealClearPolitics and made available via RealClearWire.

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