Since last Wednesday’s second Republican primary debate, all eyes have been on the GOP polls. It didn’t take long for folks to figure out who won (Fiorina) or who lost (Trump), reports Yahoo! News. What did take a few days was calculating the impact the debate performance would have at the polls. The news is starting to trickle in, and it’s pretty surprising.
1. Trump’s still on top.
Despite taking a verbal pounding from his opponents, The Donald still retains an impressive lead in the polls. He survived a public trouncing from the woman whose face he publicly called into question, and still managed to come out ahead of the pack in the polls, where the numbers really count.
“A lot of people say I won the debate based on Drudge and based on everyone else that did polls of the debate itself. So, uh, generally speaking, I think I’ve gone up since the debate. But we’ll see what happens.”
Not so fast there, Mr. Trump. While the controversial TV personality and businessman in still leading the way, his lead is definitely narrowing. He’s dropped from 32 percent of the vote in August to 24 percent in this week’s polls. Could his dominance be waning?
2. Fiorina vaults to number two.
While Trump is still on top of the GOP polls, his lead has definitely slipped. He’s dropped 8 percent in the polls, and Carly Fiorina has been quick to pick up his slack. Fiorina currently claims 15 percent of the vote (a huge jump from the dismal 3 percent she claimed in early September) in the most recent polls. This puts her strongly in contention for the Republican nomination. She jumped ahead of previous second-place candidate Ben Carson, who the polls now put at 14 percent, the Los Angeles Times reports.
3. The voters don’t want “Old Washington” blood.
The GOP polls are sending a very clear message to the Republican candidates. The public wants change. Not the same names that have been rolling around Washington D.C. for years, and even generations. Some of the most established political names on the GOP roster are dropping lower and lower in the polls.
So-called “traditional” GOP candidates, including one-time leader-of-the-pack and even once-upon-a-time presumed GOP nominee Jeb Bush, aren’t faring very well in current polls. Bush is currently estimated at 9 percent, just below Rubio at 11 percent and Cruz, who has 6 percent of the vote based on most recent polls.
4. “Change” is the biggest concern for voters.
While some of the things coming out of GOP contenders’ mouths indicate that their primary concern is keeping their potential constituents entertained, voters have a different idea of what’s truly important. Current polls asked potential voters quality is most important in a candidate. Only 3 percent answered “the right experience.”
While that might seem like bad news for professional entertainers, it doesn’t actually seem to be. This is because 37 percent of those asked cited that the ability to “bring about needed change” was their first and foremost concern, according to GOP polls. Forty-six percent of Trump’s voting base feels as though he’s the guy who can make that change a reality.
Ironically, “change” was President Obama’s campaign platform.
5. It’s not always good to be ahead in a poll.
Sometimes, being ahead in the polls can be a very bad thing. Donald Trump, for example, is the current GOP Primary frontrunner. His lead might be slipping, but it’s been consistent, and his supporters are committed. However, when your shtick is being as polarizing as possible, you’re bound to accumulate a few haters in the polls.
Maybe even more than a few. Recent polls indicate that while The Donald is holding onto his lead, he’s also leading the competition when it comes to being viewed “unfavorably.” Fully 40 percent of those polled have an unfavorable view of the Apprentice host. Bush comes in at only 38 percent unfavorable in the polls, despite the constituencies’ demand for someone without a D.C. resume.
The truth of the matter is that despite all of these GOP polls, right now it’s all up in the air. Polls this early in the campaign season are notoriously bad at predicting general election outcomes. The most accurate GOP polls for predicting the next President are those where people predict who they think will win, not necessarily who they’d prefer to vote for.
Yet again, Trump comes out ahead. He commands roughly 33 percent of that vote, with Bush and Carson coming in 2nd and 3rd in the polls, respectively.
The polls also hit on some of the issues important to GOP primary voters. One of the most important is defunding Planned Parenthood. Fully 61 percent said they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate who took that stance. Sending ground troops to the Middle East is also high on this list of important issues for the GOP voter base. Over 50 percent were more willing to cast their vote for candidates who want to put U.S. boots on the ground to battle ISIS, according to polls.
With the 2016 campaign season in full swing, there’s no doubt that voters will definitely be following the GOP polls closely for months to come.
[Photo Courtesy: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images]