Cruz, Fiorina Are Big Winners In First Post-Debate Poll

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


A new NBC poll has gotten a lot of attention today for suggesting that Donald Trump won the Republican debate on Thursday. And maybe he did! But I’d take the results with a grain of salt. Here’s why:

  • As the chart on the right shows, Trump’s support didn’t increase. It stayed where it was. The big gainers were Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, and Ben Carson.
  • It was an overnight poll. So it might reflect what viewers thought of the debate itself, but it doesn’t take account of the weekend fallout over Trump’s post-debate treatment of Megyn Kelly. Nor does it take into account the media treatment of Trump over the past few days. This may or may not make a difference, but I’d wait a few days to see how things play out.
  • It’s an internet poll, not a telephone poll. The methodology is fairly sound, but it’s nonetheless another reason to treat the results with caution.

I’m not foolish enough to predict what’s going to happen to Trump’s poll numbers over the next week. I feel safe saying that Trump will implode eventually, and that he’ll implode over something like this weekend’s lunacy. But whether it will happen over this weekend’s version of this weekend’s lunacy—well, who knows? The base of the Republican Party is pretty inscrutable to a mushy mainstream liberal like me. I’m really not sure what will and won’t set them off these days.

As for the rest of the results, I’m stumped over Ted Cruz’s gain. He didn’t seem to especially stand out on Thursday. Conversely, Fiorina is easy to understand, and Carson’s bump might just be due to increased name recognition. Bush and Walker dropped a little more than I would have guessed, but 3 percent still isn’t much. We’ll see if all these results hold up over the next week.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest