The Debate Format
Stealing Share sponsored a quick survey of people who watched the Republican debate on August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The results are not terribly surprising but interesting none the less. The format of the debates raised a lot of hackles because of the sheer number of debaters. The viewers who took the study were evenly divided when asked if there were too many debaters.
But they were less divided when asked if too many debaters were left out. Only 26% believed the field should have included the debaters that took part in the pre-debate debate.
Donald Trump was the favorite candidate entering the debate by a large margin as 51.8% of the respondents held Trump as their favorite. None of the other candidates broke into double digits.
Did the debate change anyone’s mind?
We wanted to know so we asked. As it turns out, 26% of the respondents did have a change of allegiance after watching the debate but 74% stayed loyal to their pre-debate choice. The respondents hailed from both major parties with only Libertarians underrepresented. 40% said they were registered Republicans and 7.9% identified themselves as members of the Tea Party. Assuming that Tea Party supporters tend to vote Republican, roughly 50% of the respondents could be classified as being Republican. Democrats made up 28% of the study and 22.5% called themselves Registered Independents.
Three quarters of the respondents said they watched the entire debate and two thirds said they watched the post debate commentary. There were only small differences in viewing when we broke it down by political party affiliation. Independents tended to watch less of the debate with approximately 50% saying they did not watch the entire debate.
Who did they prefer after the debate?
The winners here were Donald Trump, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson with Trump still leading by double figures. Jeb Bush and Chris Christie seemed to have lost the most ground. But the negatives seems most severe with Governor Christie and Rand Paul. When asked who they would not be willing to support in the general election, many of the top candidates had very high negatives with Donald Trump being the most polarizing. He was the favorite and in the top five of those whom voters would not support.
Ben Carson had the fewest objections to voters in the general election and Marco Rubio seems acceptable to most voters.
When we queried respondents about the issues that were most important to them in this election, only reasonable gun control and changing the US to a Christian country were considered unimportant. There were some interesting differences between these issues when we looked at the motivations of the Trump supporters.
Generally speaking, the Trump supporters had higher intensities in the issues that mattered to them. And they mimicked closely the campaign talking points of the Trump campaign itself. Only reasonable gun control was viewed as unimportant with the Trump supporters and they were in favor of making the US a Christian country— unlike the rest of the respondents who did not favor this constitutional change.