Post-Debate Poll Finds DeSantis Won 4th GOP Primary Debate
Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida and 2024 Republican presidential candidate, during the Republican presidential primary debate hosted by NewsNation in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, US, on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023. Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley solidified her claim to be the main alternative to Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, drawing attacks from her rivals over her connections to Wall Street donors and hawkish foreign policy views.
Micah Green / Bloomberg via Getty Images

A new 538/Washington Post/Ipsos poll conducted after the fourth Republican Party presidential primary debate found that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was named by the most respondents as having “performed best” in the debate.

DeSantis stood at center stage with former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, while former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and pharmaceutical executive Vivek Ramaswamy stood on the ends of the stage.

Of those who watched the NewsNation debate in Alabama, 30% said that DeSantis performed the best, followed by Haley, 23%; Christie, 19%; and Ramaswamy, 16%.

While 7% said that DeSantis did the worst, 9% said Haley, 31% said Christie, and 37% said Ramaswamy.

There was not a lot of movement in the poll in terms of candidates rising or falling in voter’s minds on who they would consider voting for.

Of those on stage, a higher percentage of voters were considering voting for DeSantis than any of the other candidates at 56%. Former President Donald Trump, who did not participate, received 61%.

Debate moderator Megyn Kelly said on Thursday that she thought DeSantis won the debate and that Haley, who has surged to third place in the polls, lost the debate.


“I mean, with all respect to her, I thought Nikki Haley lost last night because she shrunk away like she was not really a presence, and she’s been increasing her poll numbers by getting out there and being pugilistic, and that version of her did not appear on stage last night,” Kelly said.

“I thought Ron DeSantis had his best debate yet,” she added. “And so I think you could probably say he’s the winner because he’s in the best poll position of the four.”

Kelly’s assessment of the candidate’s debate performances largely reflected a lot of comments made by high-profile analysts and political commentators online, though one CNN focus group found that six out of its eight participants believed that Haley won the debate.

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