Carly Fiorina’s strong performance at last week’s primetime Republican debate has catapulted her into second place behind Donald Trump in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, a new CNN/ORC national poll shows.
According to the survey, conducted three days after the Sept. 14 debate, Fiorina has 15 percent support among Republican and Republican-leaning voters, up from just 3 percent in August. The former Hewlett-Packard chief executive is one point ahead of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (14 percent), down 5 points from the previous poll.
Meanwhile, support for Trump’s candidacy — which stood at 32 percent in August — has slipped to 24 percent, the new poll shows.
Trump, Fiorina and Carson are the only candidates in the Republican field who have not held public office.
Trump speaks at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Forum in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday. (Photo: Brian C. Frank/Reuters)
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who appeared to score points on foreign policy during the debate, is fourth, at 11 percent — up from 3 percent in August.
Rounding out the top 10 are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (9 percent), Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (6 percent), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (6 percent), Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (4 percent), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at (3 percent) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (2 percent).
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who was once leading the crowded GOP field, registered less than half a percentage point of support among Republican voters, the CNN/ORC poll found.
1. Trump - 24%
2. Fiorina - 15%
3. Carson - 14%
4. Rubio - 11%
5. Bush - 9%
6. Cruz - 6%
6. Huckabee - 6%
8. Paul - 4%
9. Christie - 3%
10. Kasich - 2%
On ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” Sunday, Trump dismissed his drop in the poll.
“A lot of people say I won the debate based on Drudge and based on everyone else that did polls of the debate itself,” Trump said. “So, uh, generally speaking, I think I’ve gone up since the debate. But we’ll see what happens.”
According to the CNN/ORC poll, 52 percent of those who watched the debate felt Fiorina did the best job of all the candidates on the Simi Valley, Calif., stage, while 31 percent said Trump did the worst.
However, there was some good news to come out of the poll for the former “Celebrity Apprentice” star:
About 44 percent of likely GOP voters say they see Trump as the candidate who could best handle the economy — well ahead of his nearest competitors: Fiorina at 11 percent, Rubio at 10 percent and Bush at 8 percent. Trump also wins on immigration, with 47 percent saying he could best address the issue, ahead of second-place Rubio’s 15 percent and Bush’s 9 percent. He even edges Rubio, 22 percent to 17 percent, on who could best handle foreign policy.
And the Republican debates appear to have stirred enthusiasm for the party: 65 percent of GOP voters said they are either “extremely” or “very” enthusiastic about voting in the 2016 presidential race. Just 51 percent of Democrats could say the same.
“These polls don’t really mean anything at this stage,” Rubio said on “This Week” Sunday. “I’m not sure the mid-September winners are where you want to be. Obviously, you want to do well and they’re relevant because they’re deciding who gets on the stage. But they’re not going to decide this election.”