But by another metric, released by Netbase, which analyzes gains in positive social media mentions, Rubio gained the most from his debate performance, up 28 points, with Fiorina second, improving her mentions by 17 points.
Cruz was the biggest loser with positive mentions dropping 25 points.
Rubio has the potential capacity to unite the wings of the GOP factions and emerge as the credible sort of establishment alternative to one of the three complete outsider candidates.
It’s still early yet, but my guess is Cruz sounded too much like a sharp politician last night, too rehearsed. Social conservative insiders looking for a conventional candidate who had been moving towards Cruz may take another look at Rubio.
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action.