In the polls that have been released post-debate, Trump has maintained his position at the head of the pack. However, more interesting is the surge in support for the other outsider candidates, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina. Since the debate, six new polls have been released: one national poll, one New Hampshire poll, three Iowa polls, and a Michigan poll. In those polls, Fiorina and Carson have joined Trump in the top tier.
In fact, when the results of all of the polls are averaged together, Carson and Fiorina are second and third, respectively. Both Carson and Fiorina had numbers that were on par with, or even slightly better than in many cases, the numbers of Bush and Walker, the conventional front runners. That paints a clear picture that, at least at the present time, many GOP voters aren’t looking for a conventional candidate, but rather an outsider.
Trump’s outsider message is a clear contributor to his early success. He espouses the idea that career politicians are bought and sold, while foreign countries take advantage of our weak leadership. Carly Fiorina has adopted a similar message, albeit with more substance to back it up. She has embraced her outsider status and has presented herself as a leader rather than a run-of-the-mill politician. Despite being excluded from the primetime debate, Fiorina’s numbers have experienced a significant bump, as she has gone from the bottom of several polls to the top of several more recent polls.
On the other hand, the conventional politicians in the race have gone through a slump. In the most recent installment of A Cigar with Frank Cannon, I discussed the Scott Walker slump. In order to move forward, Scott Walker needs to win Iowa, and he has seen his numbers fall dramatically to the point where he is polling similarly to Carson and Fiorina. In a similar vein, Kasich has seen that his best shot moving forward is to win New Hampshire, and ride the wave to the next primary sequentially. He came in third in the most recent NH poll, which is a good sign for him.
The debates have presented us with a new top tier of candidates, and the fact of the matter is that Bush and Walker simply aren’t a part of it right now. It seems that now, more than ever, the voters are looking outside of Washington—outside of politics—for their candidates.
Frank Cannon is the president of American Principles in Action.