DeSantis wins fourth GOP debate, WaPo poll says

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) won the fourth Republican primary debate, according to a poll of debate watchers.

The 538-Washington Post-Ipsos poll found that 30 percent of respondents who watched the Wednesday debate said that the Sunshine State governor won. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) came in second, at 23 percent, followed by former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) at 19 percent and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy last at 16 percent.

Debate watchers were also asked who performed the worst. Ramaswamy topped the field for this question, at 37 percent, followed by Christie at 31 percent. DeSantis and Haley received 9 and 7 percent, respectively.

DeSantis received a higher percentage of those who said he won Wednesday’s debate versus last month’s, according to the debate watchers surveyed. His score in Wednesday’s debate over the one in early November, where he came in second, was 7 percentage points higher. Haley dropped 11 percentage points in comparison to the third debate, when she came in first.

During Wednesday’s debate, Haley was targeted by her fellow GOP candidates, possibly due to her recent rise in prominence among the group battling it out for the Republican nomination. DeSantis took a swing at her for allegedly being weak when it comes to dealing with Democrats.

The Sunshine State governor said he was “sick of Republicans who are not willing to stand up and fight back against what the left is doing to this country,” and he accused Haley of capitulating “every time the left comes after her, anytime the media comes after her.”

DeSantis also tried to highlight his age difference with former President Trump, who is 77 years old.

“The idea that we’re going to put someone up that’s almost 80 and there’s going to be no effects from that — we all know that’s not true. And so we have an opportunity to do a next generation of leaders,” DeSantis said.

The poll was conducted between Wednesday and Thursday, featuring responses from 763 voters who are likely to vote in Republican primaries or caucuses in 2024. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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