Viewers across the country tuned in last Thursday to what turned out to be a record setting audience for the televised Republican primary debate in Cleveland.
Post-debate pundits thought Donald Trump’s brash behavior toward host Megyn Kelly signaled the beginning of the end of a campaign many Republicans are hoping implodes sooner rather than later. But a round of polls across the country this week still show a plurality of support for Trump. Two polls in Iowa showed him leading his closest rival by at least 7%, and a national poll showed the same.
While the focus has been on Iowa, other states also have Trump at the top after the debate, including New Hampshire, Michigan, Georgia and even Florida has him edging out Bush and Rubio on their home turf.
So what does it all mean? Conventional wisdom keeps repeating that Trump has a ceiling he will hit, and that he can’t/won’t win the primary. The bigger concern for Republicans is that he runs as an independent and in doing so hands the Presidency to the Democratic candidate.
Other contenders seemed to score points in the debate and were met with a corresponding rise in the polls. Both Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina are now in the mix, both in Iowa and nationally – a place they could not reach before the debates. Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker held serve, scoring points when attacking Hilary on her e-mail server and doing nothing during the debate to hurt his chances.
The next Republican primary will be on CNN on September 16th.