Showdown in Milwaukee: Republican Primary Debate Brings Anticipation and Speculation – This Wednesday is a big deal in the 2024 Presidential race. Milwaukee, Wisconsin is all set for the very first Republican primary debate, and there are eight candidates in the spotlight. People are thinking that something major might go down tonight, something that could really shake up the race. It could be a video that goes super viral, a really strong attack, or even a moment that takes everyone by surprise. But the tricky part is figuring out if this moment is truly going to change how people want to vote, or if it’s just a lot of noise and excitement.
To dig into this, we’re doing something pretty special. We’ve teamed up with FiveThirtyEight, Ipsos, and The Washington Post to run a poll both before and after the debate. We wanted to know what people were thinking about the candidates from August 15 to August 22, and then we’ll check back with the same folks after the debate to see if anything has shifted.
When we look at how well someone did in the debate, we sort of compare it to what folks were expecting. If someone was supposed to do really well but they didn’t, people tend to talk about it a lot. On the other hand, if someone wasn’t expected to shine, it’s not as big of a deal if they don’t do amazing. So, before the debate even started, we decided to ask people what they were expecting from each candidate.
We asked people which Republican candidate they were considering voting for. And here’s the twist: it’s not your usual poll where you just pick one person. Nope, people could choose more than one candidate. No surprise, a lot of people were still into former President Donald Trump and DeSantis. Then there were others like Mike Pence, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, and Ramaswamy in the mix. At the lower end were Will Hurd and Francis Suarez, who didn’t make it to the debate stage. We’re super curious to see if these choices change after the debate drama.
Now, another thing that really matters is what people actually think about these candidates. Before the debate kicked off, Trump and DeSantis had more fans than critics. On the flip side, Pence and Chris Christie had more people who weren’t really fans. They could definitely use some more love after the debate.
But you know who might score big? The folks who not many people know about. A bunch of people haven’t even heard of Burgum or Hutchinson. A strong debate performance could totally change that and put them on the map.
We also wanted to know what issues are on people’s minds when they vote. Turns out, lots of folks care about keeping costs in check, and then there’s the topic of managing immigration. Not as many folks were super concerned about election security or abortion.
So, we’re going to be keeping a close watch on how things shift after all the debate excitement settles down.