Is Wyoming Still Trump Country?
Cheyenne Frontier Days attendees heavily favor 45th president for a repeat win
- Published In: Politics
- Last Updated: Jul 26, 2023
In an informal poll Monday, Cheyenne Frontier Days attendees heavily favor former President Donald Trump for the GOP nomination for president in 2024--a finding that mirrors national polls. Gov. Ron DeSantis and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy also garnered some support. (Photo credits: Trump, AP Photo/Gerald Herbert; DeSantis, Jeffrey D. Allred/The Deseret News via AP; and Ramaswamy, AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
By Carrie Haderlie
Special to the Wyoming Truth
This story has been updated on August, 14, 2023 as of 12:45 p.m. MT.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Which horse are Wyomingites backing in the 2024 presidential race? The Wyoming Truth put that question to the folks at Cheyenne Frontier Days on Monday, with the first Republican presidential primary debate fast approaching next month in Milwaukee.
In an unofficial half-day poll, nearly two-thirds of 32 people interviewed agreed that Wyoming is still “Trump country”— a finding that mirrors former President Donald Trump’s continuing rise in national and state polls against a field of 12 candidates.
No one questioned by the Wyoming Truth expects the state to turn blue in support of President Joe Biden or any other Democratic candidate in 2024. And none said Wyoming voters would ever support an independent presidential candidate.
“Trump is straightforward, he has no filter and he says what he thinks,” said Trump-supporter Gage Mathis, 19, of Cheyenne, while waiting to get into the afternoon rodeo at the Frontier Park Arena.
Nineteen poll respondents are decidedly pro-Trump, and five others said they back Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who currently sits in second place in national polls and state polls. Several people who identified as Republicans said they would choose DeSantis as their second choice, although one said she supported biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
As of Monday afternoon, 52% of respondents in a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey said they would vote for Trump if the GOP presidential primary were held today. Twelve percent said DeSantis, and 10% said Ramaswamy.
“Wyoming is a red state. It has always been a red state,” said Brian Profaizer, 33, of Cheyenne. “I have lived here my whole life, and it has always been a red state. I have never known it to be anything else.”
While Profaizer said he thinks the majority of Wyoming voters still support Trump —and will no matter what — his own political stance has evolved over the years. As he handed out fans at a Wyoming Operation Lifesaver booth near the main ticket offices, Profaizer said he “sided and identified with more conservative policies until Trump showed up.
“Then, I really changed my mind about a lot of things,” said Profaizer. “Now, I am an Independent. I am married to a Democrat from southern California. My wife has changed my mind about a lot of things.
“You change your mind about things. I have a lot of friends who play partisan politics, and a lot of times they are not willing to change their minds, normally, about one or two issues they get stuck on,” Profaizer said. “But I say, ‘Hey, change your mind all you want. That’s part of growing up.’”
When asked about the Republican primary candidates so far in the running, Profaizer said, “I haven’t seen anybody that I like.”
As of Tuesday, six candidates appear to have qualified for the August GOP debate based on polling and fundraising requirements set by the National Republican Committee. Trump, DeSantis and Ramaswamy were on the list, as well as former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Aubrey Burns, 18, said she’ll watch the first debate on Aug. 23, which will air on Fox News. But she doesn’t plan to vote for either Trump or Biden.
“I don’t like either of them,” said Burns, who is from Cheyenne and will vote in her first presidential election next year. “I am definitely third party. Trump did make some exponential changes, but I just don’t agree with things that either Trump or Biden believe in.”
Standing next to her was Jaycob Honeycutt, 22, also from Cheyenne. He voted for Trump in 2020 and plans to do so again.
“Trump did do a lot more in his term [than Biden],” Honeycutt said. “In Wyoming, we’re red for sure.”
In Wyoming in 2020, Trump took 69.9% of the votes cast, while Biden won 26.6%. That meant Wyoming voters supported Trump by a larger margin than any other state, followed by West Virginia, where Trump claimed 68.6% of the votes.
Dark horse picks
Even though Trump has been indicted twice and faces a third indictment for alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election, he continues to dominate the polls both nationally and in the early-vote states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, according to RealClearPolitics’ compilation of the latest polls.
A Quinnipiac University poll this month also shows that 47% of voters would consider a third-party candidate in 2024. In Wyoming though, most of those questioned at CFD preferred Trump over Biden or a third-party candidate.
“I do not want Wyoming to go to Biden,” said Harley Jackson, who was visiting Cheyenne from Marysville, Ohio. “But I love Ron DeSantis.”
DeSantis is a serious candidate, Jackson continued, despite Trump’s mocking him with nicknames such as “Meatball Ron” and “DeSanctimonious.”
Polling this month showed that many Americans think Biden, 80, and Trump, 77, should not run as they are too old to serve. By comparison DeSantis is 44, and Ramaswamy is 37.
Jackson agreed that age was also a factor for him in choosing a candidate to support.
“My dad died at 80, and he was not the same as he was at 50,” Jackson said.
Five people interviewed said they would not vote in next year’s general election if it’s a Trump/Biden rematch, because they are “apolitical” or do not support either man.