CNN Poll: Trump Leads As Fiorina, Rubio Surge; Walker In Free Fall

Second Debate
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

A new poll from CNN/ORC finds Donald Trump continuing to lead the Republican field for President. In the aftermath of the second Republican debate, though, the rest of the field has been completely reshuffled.

Carly Fiorina has surged into second place, Bush has dropped to fifth and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has seen his support collapse. Walker now registers no support in the national poll.

The three hour Republican debate, hosted by CNN, broke ratings records for the network and featured deep exchanges between the candidates on a number of issues. It also, according to this poll, caused the biggest reshuffling of the Republican race since early Summer.

Trump continues to lead the race, winning the support of almost one-quarter of the Republican electorate. Businesswoman Carly Fiorina, who was making her first appearance on the main stage of a debate, has catapulted into number 2, with 15 percent support. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson is third with 14, followed by Florida Senator Marco Rubio with 11 percent. Rubio’s support has more than tripled since a CNN poll at the beginning of the month.

One-time frontrunner Jeb Bush saw his support edge down to just 9 percent in this most recent poll. His support is now just half of what it was in June. The rest of the field, except Walker, largely held onto the support they had in early September.

Walker’s support has collapsed in this latest poll. He registers less than 1 percent support in the CNN poll, far behind all other major candidates. Just two weeks ago, Walker was in the middle of the pack with 5 percent support nationally. His steady drop in the polls over the summer, and his dramatic drop in state polls in Iowa, had put intense pressure on Walker to perform well in the second debate.

Measured on this latest poll, however, Walker might have been better off skipping the second debate. His favorable rating is one of the worst of all candidates. He doesn’t register as being particularly well-placed to handle any specific issue. Worse, just 2 percent of Republican voters even consider him a good “second choice” for the nomination, underscoring the fact that he has simply faded completely from the scene.

The three true outsider candidates, Trump, Carson and Fiorina, together command a clear majority, 53 percent, of Republican voters. In early Summer, this three had just 20 percent support among Republicans.

Jeb Bush, the favorite of much of the Republican establishment, has slipped below double-digits. A lot of his remaining support could shift to Rubio, who maintains high favorable ratings and performed well in the second debate, according to most observers.

In the coming weeks, pressure on establishment candidates lagging in the polls to bow out of the race will intensify. The insurgent candidates have solidified their hold at the top of the Republican field. The establishment’s hopes will rest on narrowing the candidates to provide a counter to the growing rebellion.

Walker may well find himself on the receiving end of these calls. While most candidates still maintain a loyal core of supporters, Walker has seen his support disappear. The candidate who, by many measures, has a very impressive record has become a rounding error in the race. Walker has shrunk from his moment.


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