Hot Air and Townhall Media Group commissioned another scientific poll this month, partnering with Survey Monkey on the 2016 primary races. The online survey of 1,978 random registered voters across the United States took place among a potential audience of 45 million in the Survey Monkey response database, rather than just among readers of Hot Air and Townhall Media Group sites. Rather than conduct a scientific poll in the first hours after the Republican debate, we decided to wait until Friday and poll over the next few days.

The Republican primary race has changed somewhat since our August poll. Donald Trump still leads among voters planning to cast a ballot in a Republican primary with almost the identical percentage — 23.32% to 23.77%. Undecideds dropped significantly from 30.34% to 21.41%, most likely from better targeting of GOP-voting independents. The big moves, though, come from Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina. Carson improved from 8.13% in second place in August to 14.86% in this poll, still in second. Fiorina moves up from fifth in August to third place now, at 10.38%. Jeb Bush, who had been in third place, tumbled to sixth (margin of error ±4 points):


Marco Rubio also increased his percentage slightly, going from 5% to 6.87%, remaining in fourth place. He’s two percentage points above Ted Cruz and Bush, but by this point everyone else is in the soup.

The debate outcome matches the general consensus, with Fiorina getting nearly 46% of the responses. She’s the only candidate who significantly outstrips her support for the nomination. Carson gets 7.83%, almost half of the number who support him for the nomination.


According to our respondents, the debate didn’t change many minds. Forty-eight percent of those planning to vote in a Republican primary watched the debate on CNN, but only 8.47% said the debate changed their mind on their preferred candidate. Nearly two-thirds (63.87%) said it didn’t. Interestingly, 32% of those planning to vote in a Democratic primary watched the CNN debate, and they pick John Kasich as their Republican nominee.

More seriously, Democratic voters now prefer Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton by seven points, 39.1% to 32.39%. That’s a five-point pickup from last month (28.77/26.64), although again that may be due in part to better identification of Democrat-leaning independents in this poll. Among Democrats only, Clinton and Sanders are in a virtual tie, with Clinton edging 36%/35.7%. Joe Biden falls five points below Undecided, and the other Democrats barely register (margin of error ±4 points).



This month we also asked several issue questions, which led to at least one surprising result. A bill in Congress to ban abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy, and a narrow plurality approves of the ban, 42.87/41.51:



However, the same sample of registered voters overwhelmingly rejects the effort to block federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood, 64.05/25.73 (margin of error ±3 points):


That’s a pretty wide disparity between those two questions. When asked only of those voting in Republican primaries, it changes to 59.58/28.75 in favor of blocking funding; however, independents overall oppose blocking Planned Parenthood funding 61.22/27.27. The other issue questions seem more straightforward. The deal with Iran gets a plurality opposed, 41.25/35.19, with 23.56% undecided. Respondents support the continuing FBI probe into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail, but only by a 45.5/38.62 margin. When asked of only independents, though, that changes to 53.99/30.06, even though opposition to the Iran deal among independents is not that far off from the overall result, 45.64/32.28.

We will have another poll in October. Stay tuned!

Note: I’d like to personally thank everyone who donated to the Jake Brewer Memorial Education Fund. It means a lot to those of us who are privileged to be Mary Katharine’s colleagues and friends.

Second note: I’ve been off yesterday, today, and tomorrow on vacation, and will be taking next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off as well.