FiveThirtyEight/WaPo Poll: DeSantis Won Debate, Haley Gains Support

A top poll conducted before and after the first 2024 Republican Party presidential primary debate revealed that more Republican voters who watched the debate are now considering voting for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to be the party’s nominee than any other candidate, including former President Donald Trump. The poll also showed former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley gained the most ground of the candidates.

The new data from a FiveThirtyEight/Washington Post/Ipsos poll showed DeSantis garnered 29% of the vote while Vivek Ramaswamy received 26% and Haley received 15%. Among GOP primary voters who said that they would consider voting for each candidate, former President Donald Trump, who chose not to debate, entered the night at the top spot with 66.2% saying that they would consider voting for him. After not showing up, that number dropped down to 61.4%. DeSantis entered the night at the #2 spot at 63% and, after his performance, moved to #1 at 67.5%. Haley was the biggest mover overall, going from just 30% to 47%.

Another poll, commissioned by the New York Post, also gauged which candidate viewers thought won the debate and found Ramaswamy with a slight edge over DeSantis. The poll, conducted by a Canadian-owned market research and analytics company, found that 23% of voters chose Ramaswamy, 21% said DeSantis, and 11% said former Vice President Mike Pence.

The Washington Post poll also measured candidates’ favorable and unfavorable ratings. DeSantis ended the night having the highest overall favorable rating at 72.4% and the highest net favorable rating at 47%. Haley saw her net favorable rating shoot up 13 percentage points from 26% to 39%, while Ramaswamy’s net favorability saw the reverse, losing 9 percentage points, going from 37% to 28%. Trump’s dipped from 31% to 24%.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) had the lowest unfavorable rating at 23.2% while DeSantis had the second lowest unfavorable number at 26.8%. Scott had the second best net favorable rating at 42%

The same poll also asked Republican primary voters who did not watch the debate what they did instead.Only 7% said that they watched Trump’s interview with Tucker Carlson, which fell behind several other options, including doing housework at 11%, and watching something else on TV at 29%. A report said that approximately 15 million people actually clicked and watched the 45-minute interview for at least 2 seconds. That number is higher though than the number of people who watched the debate live, which was roughly 13 million.

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