New Poll: Who Won and Who Lost First Debate?

The first scientific results of last nights’ GOP debate are in.  Gravis Marketing just released a poll showing the winners and losers of last night’s debate.  Who are they?  The answers might surprise you:

Source: PR Newswire
Source: PR Newswire

Interestingly, the big winner and loser were both doctors: Ben Carson and Rand Paul.  Also, two candidates ranked the same in both the winning and losing categories: Donald Trump made second place (though more people thought he lost, 30 percent, than thought he won, 19 percent) and Jeb Bush came in fourth for both categories.  Rubio came in a strong third in the “won” category.

Another measure of success was how much the candidates improved their outlook with voters during the debate.  Here is how they fared with voter perceptions of them:

Source: PR Newswire
Source: PR Newswire

Again, the biggest winner was Ben Carson.  Marco Rubio also heavily improved his standing with voters, along with Huckabee, Walker, Cruz, and Kasich.  Bush and Christie came out slightly ahead, while Donald Trump left a net negative impression, along with Rand Paul, who again came in last.

Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles in Action.