GOP debate winner was not even on stage, but here’s who came in SECOND

Former President Donald Trump won the latest GOP presidential primary debate despite not even attending it, according to a snap poll.

Conducted by J.L. Partners on behalf of the Daily Mail, the poll found that a 27 percent plurality of viewers who tuned into the debate Wednesday evening thought Trump won.

A smaller 26 percent thought tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy won, while an even smaller 17 percent thought Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won.

When asked the same question but told they may only reply with the name of a candidate who actually appeared on stage, poll participants chose Ramaswamy at 35 percent and DeSantis at 24 percent.

“They were followed by former Vice President Mike Pence at 11 percent, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott tied at seven percent, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at six percent and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum at three percent,” as reported by the Daily Mail.

According to JLP co-founder James Johnson, it’s pretty clear who the “big winner” was.

“In the absence of anyone landing a knockout blow, Trump was the big winner of last night’s debate. This is a Trump-dominated electorate and a nominal Vivek Ramaswamy win in our debate poll is more a reflection of that than anything else,” he said.

“Ron DeSantis can claim something of a win, having come across as the most presidential and competent, but he did not shine through in the way he needed to either. Christie and Burgum were the definitive losers, written off by Republicans as annoying and boring respectively,” he added.

To be fair, the poll was conducted online an hour after the debate, so it’s not exactly the most scientific. Moreover, it only boasted 546 respondents — all of them Republican — and came with a whopping 4.2 percent margin of error.

Nevertheless, in another part of the poll, respondents were shown a list of words and told to pick which candidate best fits each word.

The results may be seen below:

  • “Most strong“: Ramaswamy (24 percent)
  • “Most competent“: DeSantis (26 percent)
  • “Most presidential“: Ramaswamy and DeSantis (19 percent)
  • “Most well-spoken“: Ramaswamy (33 percent)
  • “Most charming“: Haley (11 percent)
  • “Most persuasive“: Ramaswamy (23 percent)
  • “Most boring“: Burgum (24 percent)
  • “Most aggressive“: Ramaswamy and Christie (15 percent)
  • “Most weak“: Burgum (25 percent)
  • “Most annoying“: Christie (20 percent)

As seen above, Ramaswamy came off as the “most strong” (and presidential) while Burgum came off as the “most weak.” DeSantis came out in the middle, being voted both “most competent” and “most presidential.”

Overall, Johnson believes the debate was a “dud debate” simply because it didn’t really change the expected outcome of the 2024 GOP presidential primary elections.

“We will need to watch the primary polls in the coming days and weeks but all looks unchanged. Trump-leaning voters favored Vivek in the absence of their man. Pence appealed to a chunk of moderates. Haley and Scott did well but did not dominate the conversation. DeSantis did fine – but nothing more,” he said.

“It is hard to avoid the conclusion that this was the dud debate: leaving Donald Trump as the continued clear frontrunner,” he added.

Trump campaign senior adviser Chris LaCivita concurred — so much so, in fact, that he told the Daily Mail that the next and final debate should be canceled.

“Tonight’s GOP debate was as boring and inconsequential as the first debate, and nothing that was said will change the dynamics of the primary contest being dominated by President Trump,” he said.

Especially since Trump has already indicated that he has no intention of attending the third debate, just as he had skipped the first and second debates.

For the second debate, the former president traveled to Michigan to have a pow-wow with the striking United Auto Workers union members. And indeed, during the debate itself, he could be heard delivering a speech in Detroit to the striking auto workers.

At one point during the speech,  he took a swipe at the other GOP candidates.

“We’re competing with the job candidates. They’re all job candidates. They’ll do anything. Secretary of something. They even say VP. Does anybody see any VP in the group?”  he said.

Conversely, several of the debate participants bashed him for not attending.

“Donald Trump is missing an action. He should be on this stage tonight. He owes it to you to defend his record where they added $7.8 trillion to the debt. That set the stage for the inflation that we have,” DeSantis said.

Christie likewise said Trump “hides behind the walls of his golf clubs and won’t show up here to answer questions like all the rest of us are up here to answer.”

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Vivek Saxena

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