Sign up to get the latest data and analysis on how business, politics and economics intersect around the world.
The first Republican presidential debate did nothing to change former President Donald Trump’s formidable lead over his rivals for the party’s 2024 nomination.
Trump Still Has a Big Lead After Skipping the Debate
According to a survey conducted Aug. 24, 58% of potential Republican primary voters back Trump for the GOP’s 2024 nomination. This is unchanged from our surveys released on Monday before he skipped Wednesday’s matchup. It shows that the Republican front-runner paid no price for skipping the debate even though most potential primary voters did want him to attend.
Third-place candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, who faced a barrage of attacks from lower-polling rivals including former Vice President Mike Pence and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, saw his backing increase among potential Republican primary voters from 10% to 11%, though that movement was well within the latest survey’s 3-point margin of error.
Support for former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was among the most critical of Trump during the debate, also increased by 1 point (from 3% to 4%).
The stasis in the Republican electorate following the first 2024 debate contrasts with the notable movement in the Democratic contest four years ago, when the initial primary showdown cost the 2020 Democratic front-runner — now-President Joe Biden — support to the benefit of then-Sen. Kamala Harris. This reflects Trump’s enormous grip on his party’s voters, the bulk of whom even say they would support him if he’s imprisoned.
This survey reflects one day of data, in contrast with the three-day rolling average that fuels our 2024 GOP primary tracker. Check back with us early next week when we update that page for a fuller picture of the debate’s impact on the GOP electorate.