Alternate headline: “Blogger to start gaming out President Trump’s possible VP nominees.”
On the one hand, as noted by my pal Karl, this poll was conducted using Google Consumer Surveys. If you’re wary of online polls, especially ones like this that attempt to “infer” important demographic data about respondents based on their browsing history and IP, then discount these results accordingly. On the other hand, Echelon Insights is operated by Kristen Soltis Anderson and Patrick Ruffini, two of the right’s brighter lights in political data crunching. They wouldn’t have published this poll if they didn’t have good statistical reasons to think it’s accurate, I’m sure.
Pop the champagne, Trump fans. And make sure it’s only the finest champagne. The classiest.
Footnote: Trump actually dropped three points since the debate. Echelon had him at 32 percent in their last poll. Still, good news on balance given his team’s fears that Megyn Kelly and the Fox crew had turned the public against him. And as many other polls have detected, his support isn’t limited to tea partiers or conservative Republicans. He’s at 26 percent or better here among “traditional conservatives,” “centrists,” and even “libertarians”(!). (Among that same group of libertarians, Rand Paul finished … eighth.) Another point in favor of thinking the poll’s broadly accurate is that it’s picking up major movement for Carly Fiorina, the one candidate more than anyone else whom everyone expected to move after her stellar performance last Thursday. She gained six points since last week overall; among people who actually watched the debate, of which there were many thanks to Trump, she leaped nine points to 12 percent. Rubio, another top debate performer, also hit 12 percent among people who watched. Among people who didn’t, he and Fiorina were stuck at four percent each.
So where do we stand now that we’re halfway through the week, with a bunch of post-debate polls under our belts? Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight looked at the gains and losses across the various surveys that have come out since the debate was held and found that the “winner,” by consensus, is pretty much who everyone thought won on Thursday night.
Fiorina’s improvement isn’t surprising. Scott Walker’s deterioration is, given that the consensus on social media was that he’d been low-key and a bit dull at the debate but hadn’t said anything that should damage him. Walker may be suffering here from high expectations: He’s one of the few candidates whom even low-information Republicans might have heard of going in, thanks to his war with labor in Wisconsin a few years ago and his big poll surge earlier this year. Some segment of Walker fans may have had him as their default “not Trump and not Bush either” choice and then dumped him when he underwhelmed at the debate. (The main beneficiaries from that, I assume, are Rubio and Cruz.) Trump, meanwhile, suffered a modest average loss of just 2.3 points, but that’s really only thanks to the surprising Morning Consult poll from a few days ago showing him gaining seven points after the debate. Five of the other six post-debate polls had him losing ground, and four of them had him sliding four points or more. That’s a bad sign, but when you’re sitting on a 20-point lead, you can slip a little without worry. I’ll bet he prepares for the CNN debate next month no matter what his staff is telling the media about Mr. Authentic refusing to rehearse.