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A look at the big GOP post-debate winners and losers

in 2017/Top Headlines by

Carly Fiorina seems to be the biggest winner in polling since the GOP debate last week, says Harry Enten of fivethrityeight.com.

“She gained ground in every poll taken after the debate,” he writes. “In five of the seven polls, the gain was six percentage points or more.”

Scott Walker was the biggest loser.

“This one surprised me a little, but the polling is clear. Walker is the only candidate who lost ground in every single post-debate poll.”

Donald Trump gets a mixed response: “Polling is a bit split on Trump, but there is enough evidence to say — at the very least — that he didn’t gain any ground. On average, Trump lost about two percentage points off his standing, and that includes a Morning Consult poll that found him gaining seven percentage points — a result no other poll came close to.”

Enten offers a caveat, with a warning not to take polls at this stage too literally, especially ones with Trump.

“But if you’re going to look at polls,” he says, “it’s at least better to look at a set of them rather than to cherry-pick one or two surveys.”

A few candidates declared “post-debate winners” (such as John Kasich) and losers (Rand Paul) haven’t received much of a bump. But others have.

Winners include Marco Rubio, who didn’t lose ground in after-debate polling. He is the only candidate— besides Fiorina — who can say that. Ben Carson continues to poll well and is popular with voters. Depending on the poll, Enten says, he was rated “either the most impressive or the second most impressive candidate” in the debate.

The debate gave Ted Cruz a boost in few polls. But others show him losing a little ground.

Walker falls in the loser category, as even in Iowa, where he had been leading, only 5 percent of voters said his performance was the most impressive. Walker’s suffered so much that he lost his edge in Iowa to Trump.

As for Jeb Bush, his overall numbers didn’t fall much– losing in four polls and gaining in two. But only 2 percent of Iowa voters said he was the most impressive, and 13 percent of voters nationally improved their opinion of him after the debate.

“That’s actually worse than Trump,” Entel says, “who was viewed more positively by 22 percent of Republicans post-debate.”

The rest — Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Kasich, George Pataki, Paul, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum – either lost or gained less than a percentage point. Not to say that is a good thing, Entel concludes, since Christie or Kasich could drop from the top tier by the time of the CNN debate, especially if Fiorina continues to improve.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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