Vivek Ramaswamy's Poll Numbers Crater Post-Debate

AP Photo/Morry Gash

In recent polling post-GOP debate, tech entrepreneur and candidate Vivek Ramaswamy's favorability rating dipped two points, while his unfavorability rating increased by seven points.

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2024 GOP presidential candidate and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy saw his popularity decline in a new post-debate survey of potential primary voters released Tuesday.

The Morning Consult poll showed an increase in Ramaswamy’s unfavorability rating in surveys of nearly 800 potential GOP primary voters taken before and after Wednesday’s first debate of the cycle, which aired on Fox News. The first survey was conducted Aug. 19-20, and the second survey from Aug. 24-27.

Before the debate, Ramaswamy’s unfavorability was at 12 percent, but the post-debate survey showed it spiking to 19 percent, a notable increase outside the 4 percentage-point margin of error.

Rut-roh. But this is not surprising. The bigger guns have been waiting for the perfect time to bring out the opposition research on Ramaswamy, and that time appears to be now after what many agree was a successful debate performance.

Still, the GOP potential primary voters who tuned in to the debate last week said he was the clear winner on the stage. 

Morning Consult conducted a separate survey from Aug. 24-27 in which 72 percent of potential Republican primary voters said Ramaswamy performed “very” or “somewhat” well. That number was higher than the 65 percent who said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis performed well and the 64 percent who said former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley did so.

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Since last Wednesday, one negative story after another has surfaced about Ramaswamy from the Right and the Left. He has been accused of comparing Rep. Ayanna Presley to “wizards of the grand KKK” (where's the lie?). Eminem was apparently butt hurt that Ramaswamy rapped to his tune "Lose Yourself" in Iowa. Slim Shady sent him a cease and desist letter, demanding Ramaswamy stop playing and rapping to his songs. Ramaswamy graciously complied while getting shady himself with the MC.

The 2024 presidential candidate closed his interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday by addressing Eminem's recent demand that he refrain from using or reciting his music while on the campaign trail. The cease and desist came Aug. 23 after Ramaswamy was recorded singing the hit song "Lose Yourself."

"Look, I'll respect his wishes. I'll just say this: Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?" Ramaswamy said, referencing lyrics from the rapper's hit song.

"Eminem in his rise used to be a guy who actually stood up to the establishment and said the things that the establishment didn't want him to say," Ramaswamy continued. "I think the fact that my political viewpoints may differ from his, I think people change over the course of their lives. But I have hope for him that he will one day rediscover the renegade that made him great and I'm rooting for that success in his life."

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The most recent "hit" is a conveniently resurfaced clip of a young Ramaswamy from 2003, when he was a participant in an MSNBC "Hardball" townhall. Ramaswamy asked then-presidential candidate, the Rev. Al Sharpton, why he should vote for a candidate with the least political experience. Note that this was a Democrat-run townhall, reflecting that Ramaswamy's political leanings were fluid early on. It's the first few minutes, thankfully. Once the MSNBC talking heads start pontificating about Al Sharpton, it gets a bit nauseating.

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Twenty years later, Ramaswamy now has that question being asked of him. My colleague Joe Cunningham made an apt comparison between Ramaswamy's campaign and that of VP Kamala Harris when she ran for president:

Ramaswamy is essentially the same way, except he upgraded his software so he at least sounds intelligible in a public setting. But while "VivekGPT" may feature the 2.0 software, the old bugs still remain. There is very little substance when you really listen to what he has to say. But, more importantly, given what he's saying now versus what he said even just a couple of months ago, it's clear that there is no underlying belief behind those words. It's all opportunism.

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Ramaswamy knows he has no shot at the presidency, but with that flexibility, he is more than willing to be a part of the GOP nominee's administration and maybe even his or her vice presidential running mate. He needs to be called out even more on his shifting narratives and his agenda. But that same oppo fire being wielded against Ramaswamy needs to be brought to bear on the 11 remaining candidates whose names are not former president Donald J. Trump or Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Yes, I said 11. Presidential candidate Steve Laffey, former Mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island, from 2003-2007, is very excited that Miami Mayor Francis Suarez decided to exit the race and wants constituents to know that he is not going anywhere. He may well be the next Ross Perot <insert *eye roll* emoji>.

Many of us are not on anybody's train, and the fact that the two front runners eat up all the oxygen does nothing to serve the American people or give us information and opportunity to make the most informed choices about all the candidates.

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