Just as in the 2012 race for the GOP nomination and in the 2008 race before that, the debates weigh large in the minds of voters whether anointing a new frontrunner or killing the candidacy of another.
The graveyard of not-so-stellar debaters is littered with names like Bachmann, Perry, and Cain, and Wednesday’s CNN debate may prove to have added a few more.
In the early focus groups and polls taken among voters and pundits who watched the record-breaking political fight, the field appears to have shuffled significantly.
Carly Fiorina, who was at a single point in most polls little more than a month ago, offered a performance that may likely put her among the leaders in the field.
Likewise, Sen. Marco Rubio, who has struggled to break out of the middle of the pack, was a resounding favorite among viewers and may likely see a credible bump in the polls.
On the other hand, Dr. Ben Carson, who has tested the strength of Donald Trump’s lead in recent weeks, offered a performance that as described by many as “flat” and could likely send some supporters into another camp.
Similarly, Gov. Scott Walker, who only 60 days ago enjoyed a comfortable lead both in Iowa and New Hampshire, was considered underwhelming in his remarks and is threatened by a drop perhaps to the bottom of the list.