Debate Results by the Numbers
Several professionally conducted polls have analyzed America's reaction to last Wednesday's showdown. The results are not far off from our prediction. I've focused here on the CNN/ORC poll results, which you can view in more detail here.
The long and short of it is that Carly Fiorina was the clear winner, although Donald Trump is still in first place. Taking a closer look:
Donald Trump is considered the best candidate to handle foreign policy, with 22% of voters supporting him first on this topic. Number two, after last weeks debate, is Marco Rubio with 17% of voters. Bush has 11% and Fiorina 8% on this subject.
On Illegal Immigration, Trump is again leading the pack with a huge 47% support. Rubio comes in second here as well but with only 15%, followed by Bush at 9% and Carson at 6%.
On Social Issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, Carson is leading with 17%, to Trump's 15%, Fiorina's 14%. Rubio is down at 7%, ahead of Bush's 6%.
On the Economy, Trump has another huge lead with 44% compared to Fiorina's 11% second place. Rubio again takes 3rd place here with 10% and Bush is in 4th with 8%.
As for the perception of who did best in the debate, Fiorina has a whopping 52% to Rubio's nearest finish of 14%, and Trump's 3rd place 11%. Perception as to who did worst in the debate, Trump leads the pack at 31%, with Rand Paul coming in at 22% and Bush at 9%. Really interesting there that Rand Paul, who came off as pretty libertarian, was very much unloved.
Current overall standings for 1st Choice Candidate have Trump at 24%, and Fiorina in 2nd place with 15%. Carson now has only 14% with his 3rd place finish, and Rubio is catching up in 4th place with 11%. Bush is in 5th place with 9%.
When polled as to how enthusiastic they are about the election, more than half answered "Very Enthusiastic" or "Extremely Enthusiastic".
The last stat that looks interesting to me is the favorability rating of these candidates pre- and post-debate. One thing that jumps out at me is that Trump has lost 5% from his favorable rating, while he continues to have a 59% unfavorable rating. This means that a lot of people actively do not like Trump. Compare this to Bush who has a 46% unfavorable rating as the second most hated candidate. The least unfavorable candidate is Ben Carson with 20%.
Oh, and there's a great column here for how many people have "never heard of a candidate". Donald Trump: 1%. Jeb Bush: 7%. Carson, however, still has 28% who have never heard of him, and Fiorina 30%. Rubio's at 27%. Poor old John Kasich has 39%. No one's heard of the guy.
What this shows me is that as people start hearing more about some of these candidates, we'll see a lot more shifting in these numbers.