Earlier this week at The Pulse, we looked at a couple early post-debate polls which showed Trump still leading but other outsider and anti-establishment candidates such as Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz making significant gains.
Today we have three new polls to add to the mix, surveying voters nationally and in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire. By and large, these polls confirm much of what was shown in the earlier two.
Although the headlines will likely proclaim the fact that Trump is still leading, a closer examination of the numbers reveals that he has actually lost some ground compared to his pre-debate position.
For example, the Rasmussen national poll released yesterday shows Trump at 17 percent with a seven point lead over his nearest competitors, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. However, this poll marks the first time Trump has fallen below 20 percent in two weeks and marks his lowest lead in that time, excepting an outlier NBC/WSJ poll.
The new Iowa and New Hampshire polls lend further credence to Trump’s apparent loss of support. Suffolk shows Trump with 17 percent support in Iowa, his lowest numbers there since mid-July. And in New Hampshire, the Boston Herald poll shows Trump’s lead down to 5 points, his lowest since June. All this evidence points to the first signs of weakness for Trump since he began his meteoric rise to front runner status two months ago.
These polls do indicate, however, at least one clear winner of Thursday’s debates: Carly Fiorina. Since last week, Fiorina has seen significant movement in every poll. Rasmussen shows her with 9 percent support nationally, and she polled 7 percent and 10 percent in Iowa and New Hampshire, respectively, by far her best showing in both states since polling began this cycle. Fiorina will certainly be a candidate to watch going forward.
Another candidate on the move is Marco Rubio. While he did not see a gain in New Hampshire, Rubio did draw 10 percent national support in the Rasmussen poll, well above his 6.2 percent RCP average. The Senator from Florida also pulled 10 percent support in Iowa according to Suffolk, good for third among the GOP candidates behind Trump and Walker and his best showing there since late May.
Rasmussen did not include favorability ratings, so we cannot apply the Frank Cannon Metric to any post-debate results just yet. However, judging from the data, it seems safe to say now that the first GOP debate has certainly shaken up the primary field. Will we see a different Republican front runner shortly? Stay tuned.
Paul Dupont is a legislative assistant for American Principles in Action.