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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

First NATIONAL Post-Debate Poll!--Five Takeaways

Rasmussen has given us our first national post-debate poll. It's worth noting that we've had three other polls since the debate: Iowa polls from PPP and Suffolk, and a New Hampshire poll from the Boston Herald working with Franklin Pierce University. But Rasmussen is the first to show us how the debate affected the opinions of Republicans across the country. And here's what they now think:

1. Donald Trump--17%
2. Marco Rubio--10%
2. Jeb Bush--10%
4. Scott Walker--9%
4. Carly Fiorina--9%
6. Ben Carson--8%
7. Ted Cruz--7%
8. John Kasich--4%
8. Chris Christie--4%
8. Rand Paul--4%
11. Mike Huckabee--3%
12. Gilmore, Perry, Graham, Santorum, Jindal--1%
17. George Pataki--0%
Undecided--11%

Your first reaction might be, "HOW IS DONALD TRUMP STILL IN FIRST PLACE?!" First, I applaud you for your measured reaction. Second, never fear. Context is here.

Rasmussen helpfully posted a chart showing the change in support from their its poll, taken from July 28 to 29, and this one, taken August 9 to 10.

Donald Trump
26%
17%
Marco Rubio
5%
10%
Jeb Bush
10%
10%
Scott Walker
14%
9%
Carly Fiorina
1%
9%
Ben Carson
5%
8%
Ted Cruz
7%
7%
John Kasich
5%
4%
Chris Christie
2%
4%
Rand Paul
3%
4%
Mike Huckabee
7%
3%
Jim Gilmore
N/A
1%
Rick Perry
2%
1%
Lindsey Graham
1%
1%
Rick Santorum
2%
1%
Bobby Jindal
2%
1%
George Pataki
1%
0%
Not sure
7%
11%

With that as a reference point, here are . . .

Five Takeaways

1) Is it the beginning of the end for Trump? Every post-debate poll points to yes.
  • National poll: Rasmussen wasn't the only polling company to have Trump in the mid-20s before the debate. Of the seven national polls taken before the debate, Trump clocked in at 26 in three of them. But now, in the first national poll since the debate, he's fallen to 17.
  • Iowa: This fall of nine points nearly matches the fall of twelve I noted in Monday's Iowa post on the PPP poll, which showed Trump at 19 percent support after the last pre-debate poll had him at 31. Then, yesterday's Suffolk Iowa poll had him down a bit further to 17.
  • New Hampshire: In yesterday's New Hampshire poll, Trump clocked in at 18, a massive fall from the 32 he earned in the last New Hampshire poll before the debate.
  • In sum, nationally he fell from 26 before the debate to 17 after. In Iowa he plummeted from a poll of 31 before the debate to 19 and 17 in two polls since. And in New Hampshire, a 32 before the debate turned into an 18 after it.
These numbers come on the heels of Roger Stone, one of his top political advisers, quitting the campaign. He's also taken enormous heat over how he handled the debate, saying he got unfair questions, to say nothing of his now infamous attacks on Megyn Kelly.

Thus, although the prudent thing to do would be to wait for confirmation from more national polls, the fact that the national, Iowa, and New Hampshire polls took a tumble right after his divisive debate performance and its fallout is probably indicative of a past-its-prime Trump Campaign. Finally.

So what's his plan to smooth and perhaps reverse his descent? Policy ideas! Not yet, but soon. Talk about "Finally."

2) Rubio and Fiorina rode their debates to nice pops. According to the Rasmussen poll, Rubio doubled his national support to get to second place overall, tied with Jeb Bush. Rubio's return to the top tier is no surprise; I thought he had an excellent debate. Still, he had gone eight straight polls without so much as topping 6 in the polls, and only once in the previous 15 polls had he eclipsed 8. His return to double digits must feel good.

Fiorina popped from one percent to NINE to catch Scott Walker.  It's a nice start in her quest to get promoted to the top ten and make the next debate, but the question still remains: who will get relegated? This one poll wasn't quite enough to get her in. Here are the new Real Clear Politics averages, which include this new Rasmussen poll.

1. Trump--22.8 
2. Bush--12.0
3. Walker--9.4
4. Rubio--6.2
4. Carson--6.2
6. Huckabee--6.0
7. Cruz--5.8
8. Paul--4.4
9. Christie--3.6
10. Kasich--3.0
11. Fiorina--2.8
12. Perry--1.6
13. Santorum--1.4
14. Jindal--1.2
15. Graham--0.6
16/17. Gilmore and Pataki are not registering

We can see Fiorina has jumped up to the cusp of the top ten, but is not in the top ten itself. (We also see Rubio, in just one poll, has hopped up to fourth from his pre-debate seventh.) Since we know we'll get more national polls pretty soon, we can expect they will also reflect the Fiorina surge. A couple more polls like this one, and she'll not only make the top ten, but she'll rocket past Kasich, Christie, and Paul.

3) Bush and Walker have company. Interestingly, while both campaigns were probably sick of looking up at Donald Trump as they duked it out for second, there's a chance they'll soon call that the good old days. This poll has Rubio catching Bush and passing Walker, Fiorina catching Walker and falling just one short of Bush, Carson is just one back of Walker and two of Bush, and Cruz is two back of Walker and three of Bush. Rasmussen said its margin for error this poll was +/- 4 points. Therefore, we have six candidates in the margin of error for second place. Company for Bush and Walker, indeed.

4) More of the same for Paul, Christie, and Kasich.  Here are the last ten polls for these three candidates. Earliest first, Rasmussen last.

Paul: 4, 6, 3, 6, 6, 4, 4, 5, 5, 4
Christie: 3, 4, 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 3, 4
Kasich: 3, 4, 5, 5, 3, 1, 3, 4, 3, 4

There's just nothing going in those campaigns. After Fiorina passes them, we could see a new three-way fight for the last spots in the next debate. Considering what Christie and Paul showed us at the debate, it could be a doozy.

5) But at least they're not Huckabee? I'll need to see more polls, but the Huckabee Campaign might be in panic mode. Not only did he fall to a 3-point, 11th place performance in this poll--his lowest national percentage since they started doing these polls a couple years ago--but that Suffolk poll in Iowa also hurt pretty bad. He earned a measly 2 in it. A 2! In Iowa! The bread and butter state that he won by nearly double digits in 2008. That's the lowest he's polled there in this election cycle as well. His RCP average is sufficiently strong enough that if this is a momentary blip, he'll be okay. But if it's a sign of things to come, Paul, Christie, and Kasich will soon have some company in their pending dogfight.

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