Fox News released the results of the first major-outlet national poll since the first Republican debate
three months two weeks ago. Comparing those results to the Fox poll released immediately before the debate, we can, as objectively as possible, declare a winner: Ben Carson, who saw a five-point jump in the polls — a 71 percent increase over where he was two weeks ago.
The bump comes from a debate in which Carson turned in a relatively sleepy performance — until the final 10 minutes or so, when he dropped a great line about separating Siamese twins (which he has done as a neurosurgeon) and gave a strong prepared closing statement.
Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) also saw a big jump, rising four points. Carly Fiorina gained three — impressive because it more than doubled her support. She clearly won the early-bird debate.
(It's interesting to note, by the way, that the best poll performers from the debate correlate to who was most searched during it.)
Trump essentially held steady. Don't read too much into a one-point drop, given the margin of error here and the fact that these numbers are rounded. Trump certainly didn't see a gain, though. Is this his peak? Who knows anymore. But feel free to read things into Jeb Bush's change: He dropped six points — and three spots in the ranking.
Over time, Bush has gone from the consistent leader to part of the second-tier pack. Scott Walker also dropped a fair amount and is now in the third tier, which Fiorina has just joined. (Marco Rubio and John Kasich, whose debate performances were generally praised, basically didn't move.)
In total, 42 percent of the support from Republican voters went to people who have never held elected office: Trump, Fiorina and Carson. Feel free to read into that, too.