Donald Trump Won the Fifth GOP Debate, According to Republicans Who Watched It


Donald Trump took the stage at Las Vegas' Venetian hotel and casino Tuesday night boasting a commanding lead in national polling for the Republican presidential race, and after the fifth GOP debate, he's unlikely to surrender that frontrunner status anytime soon.

According to a survey conducted for Mic by Google Consumer Surveys, a plurality of registered Republicans who watched the CNN-hosted debate considered Trump the winner. Mirroring larger trends in the GOP contest, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida notched the second- and third-place positions, respectively:

Mic/Google Consumer Surveys

No news is good news, with one exception: Given the similarity between those results and national poll numbers, we may not see a significant change in the state of play after the debate. Indeed, pluralities of Republican viewers indicated that their perceptions of Trump, Cruz and Rubio hadn't changed after watching the face-off.

A notable exception? Despite landing some powerful punches on Trump — deriding the showman as a "chaos candidate" and insisting that "you're not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency" — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush may not benefit at all from his strongest debate performance to date. 

According to the survey, 42% of GOP viewers saw Bush in a less favorable light after the debate, while 37% said their view of him hadn't changed. Only 21% looked upon Bush more favorably. The findings underscore the growing sense that the languishing former frontrunner is likely past the point of no return, amid a GOP electorate that's shown a seemingly boundless appetite for Trumpian bombast.

Mic/Google Consumer Surveys

The debate itself garnered largely positive reviews. With the candidates jousting over government surveillance, military intervention and the aims of American foreign policy, the national security- and international affairs-themed debate was among the most substantive of the 2016 cycle. Republican viewers variously described the debate as "good," "informative," "interesting," "substantive" and "boring."

Mic/Google Consumer Surveys