Post-Debate Poll Provides Data on Who Triumphed, and How Many Really Watched Tucker Interview Trump

AP Photo/Morry Gash

The first scientific post-debate poll, conducted by Ipsos and FiveThirtyEight, has been released following the GOP's first clash in Wisconsin, and it gives some insight into what GOP voters thought. Notably, Donald Trump did not attend, instead choosing to do a pre-taped interview with Tucker Carlson. How many tuned in there instead? The poll also offers some information on that. 

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First, let's start with who voters judged as winning the debate. On that front, Ron DeSantis came out on top with 29 percent while Vivek Ramaswamy followed with 26 percent. 

DeSantis 29%, Ramaswamy 26%, Haley 15%, Pence 7%, Christie and Scott 4%, Burgum and Hutchinson 1%. Alongside the track are three categories. None of these candidates: 13%.

Haley trailed at 15 percent while Pence and the rest came after a large drop-off. Worth mentioning is that while Chris Christie delivered some large applause lines and viral moments, he appears to remain a rhetorical suicide bomber, much like he was against Marco Rubio in 2016. Republicans tend to be entertained by him at moments, but he's not their guy in the broader picture, and four percent is fairly abysmal. 

Another interesting data point is that voters were also given the choice of saying that "none of these candidates" won the debate. That provides the stand-in to say that Trump won, but despite many claiming that the former president was the real winner for not showing up, most voters didn't agree, with just 13 percent choosing that option. 

On who voters are considering voting for, DeSantis saw a bump as well as Ramaswamy. 

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Still, other candidates have larger shares of debate watchers saying they’re considering voting for them, including DeSantis at 67 percent, which is up slightly from 62 percent pre-debate. Ramaswamy also saw a modest increase in the share saying they would consider supporting him, from 40 percent to 46 percent, though the percentage saying they would not consider voting for him ticked up by five percentage points as well. Notably, debate watchers are slightly less likely to say they will consider supporting Trump after the debate (61 percent now, 66 percent before).

That brings me to the other big question that was asked, which is how many who didn't watch the debate instead tuned into Tucker Carlson's interview with Donald Trump, which aired in the form of a post on X. According to the poll, the answer is seven percent while 11 percent said they did laundry. 29 percent said they watched something else on TV or watched a movie. 

How does that square with the massive view count on the Tucker interview, which is over 200 million as of this writing? The simple answer is that a "view" on X is defined as a video playing for at least two seconds (including the default autoplay with sound off) with at least 50 percent of the post in view. In other words, anyone who scrolls past the post of the interview on their timeline is going to count as a view whether they click on it or not. Further, seeing the same post multiple times will count as multiple views. 

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I'm not saying that to purposely downplay Carlson's reach because it's obviously very impressive even with the above caveats, but it's also clear that nearly the entire adult population of the United States did not actually "view" the interview. 

Whether any of this translates to anything for any candidate outside of a brief news cycle is another matter. Voters have very short attention spans, and the next big thing is always around the corner. 

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