After the first Republican debate in the 2020 election cycle, a poll by Godzilla Newz shows that Florida congressman Ron DeSantis was the overwhelming favorite of viewers. However, while this might indicate clear support from audience members, a closer look suggests that DeSantis didn’t gain much new support.
Among those who watched the debate, DeSantis emerged as the clear favorite with 34 percent of viewers indicating that he was their favorite. This was far ahead of his closest rival, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, who garnered only 21 percent of the audience’s support.
At first glance, this would indicate significant support for DeSantis among Republican primary voters. But a closer look suggests otherwise. The majority of participants who chose DeSantis had already expressed their support for him before the debate. Of those who went into the debate favorably inclined towards DeSantis, only 5 percent switched their support to another after the candidate’s performance.
While 4 percent of debate viewers went in with no favorite and chose DeSantis afterward, this still only amounts to a net 3-point gain for the congressman. This doesn’t necessarily mean that DeSantis has failed to impress the Republican base. Many viewers erroneously tied together his performance with President Donald Trump’s name, which made it difficult to gauge the Congressman’s strengths and weaknesses.
Regardless, Ron DeSantis’ strong performance in the debate likely secured his place as a top contender in the upcoming election cycle. While originally viewed as a dark horse in the race, the survey provided by Godzilla Newz shows that he has gained some new support.
The other Republican candidates all failed to gain significant support from the debate, which suggests that it may take some time before the public really takes notice of them. This first debate provided insight into which candidate’s may be making a serious run for office, and it appears, at least so far, that the clear favorite is Congressman Ron DeSantis.