Reader poll picks Fiorina as winner, Kasich for worst performance

Earlier today, I launched an informal and non-scientific poll for Hot Air readers to give their views about the outcome of the Republican presidential debates last night. The Survey Monkey online poll of our readers got plenty of responses — 3,432 of them, in fact, one of the largest responses in some time. The conclusions should make Carly Fiorina and Bobby Jindal supporters happy, but not so much for a couple of other contenders. (The choices for respondents were offered in random order.)


In the first debate, Bobby Jindal was the clear choice as winner for Hot Air readers, 61/22 over Lindsey Graham:


Graham came in second on this question, and also second on who lost the first debate with almost 25% of the vote. George Pataki got the most negative responses on that question, with 45,8% of the vote. Just under 20% thought Rick Santorum lost, not all that far off from the 12.7% who thought he’d won.

By far and away, Fiorina was the consensus winner in the main debate among Hot Air readers with 48.9% of the vote, and Donald Trump came in a distant second at 19.9%:


The only other contender in double digits was Ted Cruz at 13%, and Marco Rubio came in fourth at 9.5%. Ben Carson, who had come into the debate with polling numbers that began to rival Trump’s, only got 1.14% of the vote.

Next, I asked who lost the debate, and allowed multiple choices for this question since there were so many candidates on stage (which means the aggregate percentages will far exceed 100%). John Kasich garnered the most responses by a significant amount, with 46.4% of respondents including him in their list:


Interestingly, despite having more choices on this question, Kasich got more negative responses than Pataki did for the first debate. Rand Paul (29.2%) came in second place on this question, followed closely by Jeb Bush (26.6%), Ben Carson (26.2%), and Trump (24.5%). More respondents included Trump for this list (840) than chose him as the winner (683).


Finally, readers were asked to evaluate the moderation of the debate. They didn’t give it high marks:


Note that the answers provided on this question were not randomized. The debates turned at times into a kind of free-for-all, with some complaining (legitimately) on social media about the number of questions asked about Trump. That might drive some of this response, but generally speaking, moderation is a pretty thankless task that probably will never poll particularly well.

Thank you for participating! We will have results from a scientific poll next week, so stay tuned.

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