- Businessman Donald Trump
- Retired Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson
- Businesswoman Carly Fiorina
- Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush
- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
- Texas Senator Ted Cruz
- Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
- Ohio Governor John Kasich
- Kentucky Senator Rand Paul
- Florida Senator Marco Rubio
- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
All 11 of these candidates are currently the top 11 in the republican primary polls.
There were many different topics talked about in the debate, but the overall performance of the candidates varied greatly. There were some candidates who are leading in the polls but failed to shine in the debate; and there were some candidates who, despite being low in the polls, never let their passion die. For example, Dr. Ben Carson is currently hovering at second in the national primary polls. During Wednesday night’s debate however, Dr. Carson assumed his regular personality on stage. He answered questions in a very subdued manner, and failed to show any trace of energy on the stage. This was a major missed opportunity for Dr. Carson, as he had several opportunities to shine, and this debate could have been the very push he needed in order to surpass Donald Trump in the polls.
Others, such as Senator Marco Rubio, were a presence of energy on the stage, and this debate truly gave them a chance to shine. While on stage, Senator Rubio answered questions very directly while also weaving his own personal narrative into the answers. Further, rather than directly attacking Donald Trump as a few of the other candidates have, he focused on his own strengths and what he could do as president.
However, a majority of those that watched the debate believe that Carly Fiorina was the winner of this debate. She answered questions in clearly and she kept the audience’s attention with every word she spoke. When asked to speak towards comments made by the other candidates, she would simply reply with something along the lines of, that is for the American people to decide, not me. When she did engage in conversation with others such as Donald Trump however, she had very quick comebacks to questions and accusations, and was also able to deliver short and concise reasons for anything she stated.
As a whole, this debate has the potential to change the shape of the republican polls. The two biggest frontrunners in the polls, Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson, failed to perform which could lead to a change in the voters support. It will be very interesting to examine the polls in the upcoming weeks to determine what effect this debate had.