A lot of the hype over Carly Fiorina’s performance at the CNN Republican presidential debate on Wednesday night was emanating from Republican elites frantic for anyone or anything to end Donald Trump’s momentum. So there’s been a palpable sense of anticipation of data to show that, as one Politico article this morning put it, the “Trump fever has broken.”
Well, the first poll is in, and it is helpfully limited to people who actually watched the debate. I discussed the results at <Washington Monthly today:
[T]here now is some “new data,” but it’s not going to much cheer the Trump-hating Republican Establishment.
Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina won Wednesday’s second Republican presidential debate, according to voters who watched the Simi Valley showdown polled by Morning Consult.
It was a performance that vaulted Fiorina into the top tier of a crowded field. A plurality of 29 percent of registered voters who watched the debate said Fiorina won, just higher than the 24 percent who said real estate mogul Donald Trump came out on top. Seven percent said retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson won the debate, while 6 percent each chose former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
But here’s the catch:
Trump continues to lead the Republican primary field. Thirty-six percent of registered voters who watched the debate said they would choose Trump, compared with 12 percent for Carson and 10 percent for Fiorina. Rubio placed fourth, at 9 percent, followed by 7 percent for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and 6 percent for Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).
So Carly’s boom really just means that now 58% of respondents support a candidate with zero experience in public office. And that’s among the people who actually watched the supposedly Trump-destroying debate.
We’ll see what later polls say, but for the present the idea things are about to return to normal and voters will sagely choose between “real candidates” Bush and Rubio and Kasich looks no closer to reality than before.
Nice work, RNC.