Ohio biotech entrepreneur and GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has overtaken Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for second place in the Republican Party nomination chase, surging several points since last week’s debate, according to internal polling.
The online survey of 1,500 likely Republican voters, conducted for the campaign by pollster Cygnal, was taken post-debate from Aug. 24-26. It shows Ramaswamy in second place at 15 percent, with DeSantis in third at 12 percent. Both candidates continue to significantly trail front-runner, former President Donald Trump, who is supported by 42 percent of voters surveyed.
Ramaswamy leads his closest competitors “with conservatives, all age groups under 65, both America first and traditional candidates, both men and women, both college-educated and noncollege-educated voters, and those who watched the debate,” according to a poll memo.
“Post-debate polling confirms view consensus that Vivek Ramaswamy was the winner of Wednesday’s first Republican Presidential Debate,” wrote Brock McCleary, Cygnal’s vice president of polling. “The debate has accelerated Vivek’s rise to a clear second place.”
McCleary, who joined Cygnal in 2020, has served as pollster for Trump, members of congress and independent expenditure organizations.
Post-debate poll: Ramaswamy internal
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) August 28, 2023
The internal poll comes after a heated debate in which rising Ramaswamy was repeatedly under attack by his opponents on the debate stage. Trump skipped the Fox News-produced debate in Milwaukee, opting instead to do an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Trump still dominates in the Ramaswamy campaign’s internal poll, leading by 27 percentage points. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who sparred with Ramaswamy on multiple occasions, received 7 percent support, followed by former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley (6 percent), former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (5 percent), and South Carolina U.S. Senator Tim Scott (3 percent).
The poll also found Ramaswamy’s favorability ratings spike to 64 percent.
“The broader exposure to primary voters that the debate afforded Vivek has led to a boost in his favorability,” the memo states. Ramaswamy has the “highest favorability with key groups like conservatives, voters considering Trump and another candidate, and those who watched the debate.”
A Reuters/Ipsos post-debate poll released Friday found Trump leading the field by nearly 40 points, with no notable bounce for DeSantis, who came in second, with 13 percent support. Ramaswamy placed fourth in that poll, with 5 percent support, just behind Pence (6 percent), But the poll of 357 Republican respondents showed about four in 10 Republicans said they were more likely to back Ramaswamy or Haley based on the debate.
An Emerson College Polling survey found Trump leading the field at 50 percent, distantly followed by DeSantis with 12 percent, and Ramaswamy at 9 percent. That poll of 1,000 registered voters was conducted Aug. 25-26, after the debate. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.
Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, told the Washington Examiner the latest numbers show Trump’s support softening since the previous survey. The poll found 82 percent of Trump supporters would definitely back him, compared to 71 percent after the debate.
“The question from this poll is whether this is a blip for Trump or if the other Republican candidates will be able to rally enough support to be competitive for the caucus and primary season,” he told Washington Secrets columnist Paul Bedard.
A plurality of Republican Primary voters, 27 percent, thought Ramaswamy won the debate, while 21 percent thought DeSantis did, according to the poll. Another 12 percent believed Pence won, and 11 percent gave the advantage to Haley. Twenty-two percent of Republican Primary voters think no candidate won the debate.
Post debate polls show Trump continuing to dominate the race. “But some have also shown a new voter interest in challengers, notably Vivek Ramaswamy and Haley,” Bedard wrote.
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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Vivek Ramaswamy” by Vivek Ramaswamy.