DeSantis Gets Highest Marks in Post-Debate Poll

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September 29, 2023

Florida governor Ron DeSantis had the best performance in Wednesday's Republican primary debate, according to a poll of debate watchers released Thursday.

Thirty-three percent of those who watched the debate said DeSantis performed the best, according to a poll of Republican voters and debate watchers conducted by FiveThirtyEight, the Washington Post, and Ipsos. DeSantis was also the only candidate whose performance a majority of debate watchers, 54 percent, rated as "excellent" or "very good."

Former U.N. ambassador and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley also earned favorable marks, with 44 percent of viewers saying her performance was excellent or very good. Just 18 percent, however, said she performed the best. Behind her was entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, whom 15 percent said performed the best. Forty percent said he had a positive performance.

There was no clear consensus for who was the biggest loser of the debate, but a plurality of 24 percent of viewers said former New Jersey governor Chris Christie performed the worst. Forty-three percent said he had a "poor" or "terrible" performance.

The results are similar to those of a poll conducted by the same institutions after the first debate. Those who watched the first debate said DeSantis performed the best, followed closely by Ramaswamy and Haley.