The first Republican debate of the 2024 presidential election produced strong winners and a few candidates who should go back to their day jobs. Republican hopefuls didn’t disappoint as they delivered their platform bullet points and fired off barbs against one another.
There was a slight separation between the two candidates who topped the field in a poll following the debate. Behind the top candidates was a distance third place finisher and the rest of the field trying to stay viable on the campaign trail. The tally came from a Washington Post/FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos poll conducted immediately after the event.
From the Washington Examiner:
Roughly 29% of GOP voters who watched the debate said Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) had the best performance. DeSantis was closely followed by entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, with 26% of likely primary voters saying he performed the best.
Results from the remainder of the crowded field dropped off sharply. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley tallied 15% in the poll followed by all other candidates who didn’t gather more than 7% support. Missing from the debate stage was former President Donald Trump who leads all contenders in most nationwide polls. He chose not to participate in the debate which left eight challengers on stage to duke it out.
Any momentum gained from the debate is worthwhile for the candidates, but it doesn’t offer a clear picture of how this campaign will play out. The obvious front runner is Trump despite facing mounting criminal legal challenges. DeSantis made up some ground in the larger campaign with 67% of respondents saying they would vote for him. Trump dropped to 61% after the debate from 65%.
Ramaswamy was openly attacked by several candidates on the debate stage but performed well enough to gain national attention. His second-place finish overall and 60% favorability rating on the night propelled him into newsroom conversation across print and digital media.
How candidates spin their debate performance is always fun to watch in a presidential campaign. Winners of any debate aren’t guaranteed to carry the party nomination and future presidents have often come from behind against early strong performers. Republicans next meet on the debate stage on Sept. 27 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.
Everyone will be watching to see if Trump makes a showing and then the real campaign fireworks will begin.
- First Republican debate reveals who’s leading among voters.
- Trump a no-show as GOP contenders duke it out on stage.
- Voter poll after the debate shows separation between candidates.
Source: Washington Examiner