A new NBC News poll conducted Friday and Saturday finds Donald Trump holding his lead with 23 percent support among Republican primary voters, following the Republican debates on Fox News.
Texas Senator Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) came in second in the poll, with support from 13 percent of Republican voters. Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon and political rookie, received 11 percent support and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina was fourth, with 8 percent.
A majority of Trump supporters said they would vote for him as an independent candidate for president, if he does not win the Republican nomination.
The NBC News online poll conducted by SurveyMonkey over Friday night and into Saturday showed Republican primary voters declaring Carly Fiorina the overall debate winner.
Cruz and Fiorina were the candidates with the largest gains in support, 7 points and 6 points respectively, but there was no real change among most candidates.
Carson's good showing was not very surprising after a Gravis poll conducted immediately after the debate had found that 22 percent of Republicans felt Carson had won the debate, compared to 19% of Republicans who said Trump won the debate.
Fiorina was followed by Marco Rubio (8), Jeb Bush (7) and Scott Walker (7).
According to an analysis on Breitbart, “the highest poll ranking of a candidate acceptable to the Republicans in D.C. is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), in fifth place with just 8 percent. This is stunning considering the obvious attacks on Trump by Fox moderators, the limited number of questions offered to Cruz and Carson and the relegation of Fiorina to a non-prime time debate slot.
“In the post-debate analysis, Fox News roundly criticized Trump and heaped praise on Rubio and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a former Fox News anchor.”
The controversy between Trump and Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly isn’t factored into this poll’s results.