After Carly Fiorina's standout performance in the Aug. 6 Republican pre-debate, we were eager to see her polling numbers.

Sure, she spoke in the so-called "kiddie table" debate -- really more of a 5 o'clock forum featuring the bottom seven Republican presidential candidates before the main stage of the top 10 -- and sure, her competition was six men who were pretty, well, lackluster that day.

But the media, including us here at The Fix, made note of how well-spoken, versed poised she appeared. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO was one of the night's unequivocal winners -- of either debate.

The even-better news for Fiorina? Her slight surge in the polls since the debate comes even as she remains unknown to many voters -- more than almost all of her opponents. Translation: She's gaining ground, and she's still got plenty of room for growth.

According to Gallup, her familiarity among Republicans across the country jumped by 14 percentage points the week after the debate. 

And when people became acquainted with her, they were hearing mostly good things (and not, say, the controversy she found herself in Friday about whether vaccines should be a matter of choice). Her overall net favorable rating -- the percentage of people who like her versus don't like her -- jumped by about 20 points. That's more than any other candidate since the debate, Gallup notes.

Despite that momentum, she's hardly a household name yet. "Even with her newly energized image, she is familiar to only a little more than half of Republicans," writes Gallup's Frank Newport.

In fact, Fiorina was so unknown before the debate that even after her post-debate surge, she's only more familiar than one of the other 16 top GOP candidates: former New York governor George Pataki.

Who's Pataki, you ask? We thought so. If these early numbers are any indication, the sun has started shining on Fiorina. And from here, there's plenty of room to keep moving in the right direction.

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