One of the things that isn’t surprising is that Donald Trump’s lead in Iowa has stabilized in PPP’s latest polling. The thing that’s stunning is how positive of an impact Thursday night’s “Happy Hour Debate” has had with Carly Fiorina.
First, the horserace polling shows “Donald Trump leading the Republican field in the state even after a weekend of controversy. He’s at 19% to 12% for Ben Carson and Scott Walker, 11% for Jeb Bush, 10% for Carly Fiorina, 9% for Ted Cruz, and 6% for Mike Huckabee and Marco Rubio.” Next, PPP said that they didn’t include Ms. Fiorina “in the horse race question” before because she “was such a non-factor.” While that’s got Ms. Fiorina smiling, that isn’t the best news from PPP’s report for her.
The best news for her is that “her favorability rating is now 56/15, compared to 30/15” when PPP polled Iowa in April. The “Happy Hour Debate”, which is what Ms. Fiorina is calling the afternoon Fox News debate, significantly increased her name recognition and profile. With that higher visibility comes increased criticism.
First out of the box with criticism was — surprise, surprise — Donald Trump, who took to Twitter to say that “I found that listening to Carly Fiorina for ten straight minutes gave me a massive headache.” Besides the typical Trump criticism, which is all-bombast-all-the-time, the Left is paying more attention. A business organization named The Young Turks, LLC, has posted a video criticizing Ms. Fiorina for not supporting government-mandated paid maternity leave.
In criticizing Ms. Fiorina about a policy belief, The Young Turks have done something that Mr. Trump hasn’t done. Mr. Trump’s criticisms have been personal attacks, mixed with a healthy helping of ad hominem. The next time Mr. Trump makes a substantive attack on one of the other GOP presidential candidates, it will be his first substantive attack on a GOP presidential candidate.
While there’s little doubt that Ms. Fiorina will increasingly be attacked because of her higher profile, there’s no doubt that she’ll gladly do that.
This news will definitely put a smile on Ms. Fiorina’s face, too:
The latest PPP poll out of Iowa shows Hillary Clinton trailing four Republican candidates in head-to-head match-ups. Ben Carson performs the best against the former secretary of state, besting her by by four points, 44-40, while former Florida governor Jeb Bush performs the worst: He trails her by four, 44-40. The other three GOPers who came out ahead of Clinton are Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, both of whom lead her 44-43, and Florida senator Marco Rubio, who leads her 43-42.
The thing that Trump never talks about, understandably, is that Hillary beats him in poll after poll, whether they’re in a state poll or in a national poll. The 2 things worth monitoring going forward will be to see whether Ms. Fiorina can sustain her earned momentum and whether Mr. Trump’s bombastic personality starts turning people off.