The mainstream media–including Bushites at Fox News–once again declared the beginning of the end of Donald Trump’s campaign following the second GOP debate. However, according to the first nationwide poll conducted since the CNN Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., The Donald has continued to widen his lead over his rivals.
The Morning Consult survey, which polled 504 registered voters who said they watched the debate, found Trump’s support inched up from 33% to 36% and 24% said he won round two. A plurality 29% said former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina won, while 7% said the night belonged to retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio both were chosen as the winner by 6% of the respondents in the poll.
Still, Trump maintains a dominating 24-point lead over his closest rival Dr. Ben Carson–36% to 12%–though Fiorina did jump 7 points to 10%, up from just 3% in the previous Morning Consult Poll conducted just before the debate on Sept. 13. Rubio took fourth place with 9%, followed by 7% for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and 6% for both Gov. Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Meanwhile, Dr. Carson still has the highest favorability numbers out of all the Republican candidates among primary voters, with more than three quarters (76%) who watched the debate saying they view him favorably. Sixty-seven (67%) see Trump favorably and 60% say the same about Rubio. Fiorina’s favorable ratings gained among self-identified Republican voters, with 56% saying they had a favorable opinion of Fiorina, up from 37 percent. In the previous survey, 36% said they didn’t know enough about Fiorina to form an opinion, but after the debate, just 16% said they had no opinion.
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Interestingly, the results both contradict and mirror the results of other snap and focus group survey results following the debate in their own respect, including our own PPD Post Republican Debate Poll. PPD found 58.5% thought the frontrunner and billionaire real estate mogul won round two, which is more in line with surveys from Drudge and Time Magazine. For instance, despite Fiorina’s overall positive night, panelists also said she exposed a not-so likable side of herself in some of the exchanges that didn’t sit too well with them. Yet, Gov. Christie tied with Rubio and Sen. Cruz for third place with 6% of voters saying each candidate won, similar to the Morning Consult Poll data.
In the Morning Consult Poll, Christie bumped up from 2% to 6%, while PPD found the Garden State governor exhibited the most positive change as it relates to voters’ before-and-after views of the candidates. Thirty-seven percent (37%) said they now hold a more favorable view of Gov. Christie than they did prior to and because of his performance. Further, 58% said Christie was “Genuine,” putting him only behind Trump (64%), Cruz (61%) and Dr. Ben Carson(60%).