Much of the online hubbub in the wake of the first GOP debate(s) was about Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly. However, that nasty conflagration has perhaps distracted us from the really big news from the first debate. The fact of the matter is that while Trump may be the big news – conservatives Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Rick Perry and Marco Rubio all had very positive nights, while none of the moderates made much of an impact.
The Washington Post seemed surprised to report that Ted Cruz made the biggest splash early on.
The most Googled candidate in the debate at any point was Ted Cruz — with 67 percent more searches at his peak than the next most-searched candidate’s peak.
The folks who participated in pollster Frank Luntz’s Focus Group reinforced what the internet data was telling us.
The Dallas Morning News thought the conservatives clearly won the night as well.
Marco Rubio had zest, Carly Fiorina had command and Ted Cruz had control, according to political analysts late Thursday night and early Friday morning.
The first two Republican primary debates gave operatives and talking heads plenty to chew on well into Friday morning. While former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Gov. Scott Walker barely moved the needle, Sen. Marco Rubio and businesswoman Carly Fiorina were the clear cut winners.
And while they didn’t make headlines, Sen. Ted Cruz’s steady performance resonated well with a key Fox focus group and former Gov. Rick Perry was confident even with a small misstep…
Pundits deemed Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida the clear winner of the main event, bringing a fresh, confident and informed perspective without meanness or snark.
Republican strategist Michael Schmidt said on MSNBC that Rubio had “a phenomenal performance,” and NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell said the senator brought a forward-looking “zest” to the debate…
Republican talking heads declared Carly Fiorina the winner of the earlier debate, which featured just seven of the 17 candidates seeking the nomination. Fiorina was the most searched candidate on Google during the first debate. Almost 90 percent of respondents to Fox News online poll said she won the debate, while Perry came in second with 7 percent.
I think the most basic truth we can take away from all of the debate analysis is this… the conservatives are simply going to do better because our ideas are different than the Democrats.
Consider it – can Jeb Bush win a GOP debate while arguing for the Common Core, or for illegal immigration, or for possibly raising taxes, etc. His ideas on the big issues play to the center of the party and those folks aren’t the ones who are going to matter in the primary. The same thing could be said for Chris Christie, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki and yes, even Donald Trump. While Trump may articulate an aggressive anti-illegal immigration policy, he has also wildly liberal positions on abortion, taxes, healthcare, guns and other important topics.
In a debate these moderates simply cannot stand up to the persuasive conservative argument being articulated by the other candidates. The real question is: which conservative will separate him (or her) self enough from the pack to become the candidate that conservative voters decide to support?
Over at NBC News these basic truths were on display when on Sunday Chuck Todd recapped the latest NBC poll which showed that Trump hadn’t improved his numbers and still sat at about 23% but several conservatives had catapulted into the top 6 while all of the moderates lost ground.
None of that stopped Trump from coming in at the top of the poll with 23 percent. Sen. Ted Cruz was next on the list with 13 percent…
The surprise result from the poll might have been businesswoman Carly Fiorina’s performance. 22% said she won the debate, besting Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio and Cruz. In overall support, she came in fourth with 8% of Republican primary voters saying they would support her in a primary or a caucus. This may not seem like a lot, but she had a gain in support of six points, which was the second highest in the poll. Fiorina may have benefited from stepped up media coverage due to her performance in the so-called “Happy Hour” debate that aired on Thursday before the prime-time event.
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