Former President Trump experienced a minor decline in support among Republican primary voters following his decision to skip the first GOP debate, as per a recent Emerson College poll. Conducted on August 25-26, the poll revealed that Trump’s backing dropped to 50% from the previous 56%, marking his lowest support yet in Emerson’s surveys.
Conversely, several candidates witnessed a slight uptick in their support in the aftermath of the debate held in Milwaukee. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley experienced the most significant increase, with her support rising from 2% to 7%. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis saw a 2-percentage-point boost to 12%, while Former Vice President Mike Pence’s support increased from 3% to 7%.
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Although entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy was perceived as the debate’s winner by 27% of respondents, this sentiment did not directly translate into increased support for him. His backing slightly decreased from 10% to 9%.
The poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters and carried a margin of error of 3 percentage points. These findings imply that Trump might face consequences among certain Republican primary voters due to his debate absence. However, this is based on a single survey, and he still holds a significant lead over other candidates.
Instead of participating in the debate, Trump chose to conduct an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, which was shared on social media during the debate’s airing. Trump has hinted at skipping future debates, citing his substantial lead in GOP primary polls and questioning the need to subject himself to attacks from rivals when he is already significantly ahead in national polls.
Spencer Kimball, the executive director of Emerson College Polling, noted that while Trump’s support experienced a slight dip, the key question remains whether this is a temporary blip or if other Republican candidates can gather enough support to pose a competitive challenge during the caucus and primary season.