David Paleologos: why and who is going to watch the Republican debate on CNN next week?

David Paleologos: Plans on watching the CNN Republican debate
Source: usatoday.com CDN Yahoo News | David Paleologos: Plans on watching the CNN Republican debate

Source: usatoday.com | David Paleologos: Plans on watching the CNN Republican debate

A majority of registered voters said they won’t be watching the CNN Republican debate that takes place at Drake University next week, according to the most recent nationwide poll conducted by Suffolk University and USA TODAY.

Rather than the Republican primaries and caucuses, the groups that do intend to watch the debate think it will appeal to important voters in the general election in November.

Only three candidates—former president Donald Trump, former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, and Florida governor Ron DeSantis—are eligible for this discussion.

Due in large part to the 54% of Trump supporters who will not be watching, 51% of Republicans do not intend to watch with Trump expected to be a no-show. Additionally, at least 52% of Democrats and independents say they won’t watch.

Is the discussion thus a total waste of time?

Important voting blocs in the November election will be watching, thus our poll suggests no. While DeSantis and Haley have generally seemed unable to change the national dialogue in the run-up to the GOP primaries and caucuses, Trump’s absence could provide them the opportunity to influence the dialogue for the November election.

Is Trump really willing to take that chance by failing to appear? His persistent presence on the primary debate stages in 2016 effectively impacted the discourse surrounding immigration and “draining the swamp,” which spurred support throughout both the early primaries and the November election.

These are the demographics that the survey indicates are more likely to watch the debate and may have an impact in November.

50% of independent women say they’ll watch

Our nationwide polling in late October asked, “If the elections for Congress were held today, who would you vote for, the Democratic or Republican candidate?” The results showed that independent women broke away from conservative-leaning independent males in the 2022 midterm elections, averting a red wave.

Independent women selected Democrats 51%–40%, and independent males choose Republicans 57%–35%). Independent women made it clear that repealing Roe v. Wade was their main priority by endorsing Democratic nominees against U.S. Senate candidates who had received Trump’s endorsement.

Abortion was identified as the top issue by independent women (29%), more than twice as high as by independent men (12%), in the October 2022 survey. A staggering 27% of independent women say they will vote for a third-party candidate, despite the fact that Trump leads President Joe Biden in the survey (33%–30%).

DeSantis and Haley have to carefully consider and express their viewpoints while speaking to strong-willed women, many of whom would lean towards voting for Biden or a third-party candidate.

59% of those who support a divided Congress say they will watch

People who favour a Democratic or Republican takeover of both houses are less inclined to tune in to the discussion.

However, those who favour a divided Congress are tuning in by a 59%–33% margin: Interest in the discussion was highest among those who would prefer a Democratic Senate and a Republican House (64%–28%), followed by a Republican Senate and a Democratic House (54%–40%).

This creates a chance for a bipartisanship discussion between DeSantis and Haley.

With the Speaker of the House scandals of 2023, the House investigation into Biden’s impeachment (which is opposed in our survey, 49%–43%), and the possibility of a government shutdown in the upcoming weeks, what is their dream situation?

Republicans who aren’t too excited about Trump: 53% want to watch

The desire to watch is higher when people are less enthusiastic about Trump. Republicans who are least excited about Trump (scoring him 3 or less on a 10-point scale) want to watch, while 48% of those who are somewhat enthusiastic (4–7 out of 10) will watch.

53% of Republicans who are enthusiastic about Trump will not attend the debate. With their special ability, DeSantis and Haley will be able to address these disgruntled Republicans directly. If Trump is the GOP nominee, would they advise these viewers to cast their ballots for him or to look elsewhere?

The aforementioned groups do, in fact, overlap somewhat, and Nikki Haley does exceptionally well in surveys among Republicans who are not very enthusiastic about Trump (1-3): According to the survey, 50% of these people favour her, compared to 19% for former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and 16% for DeSantis.

She must now find a way to get those Christie and DeSantis supporters to support her. If not, each of the three contenders will have to develop an escape plan, and the forthcoming Haley/DeSantis debate may serve as the first formal forum for the Republican nomination in 2028.

Source:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2024/01/05/who-will-watch-the-gop-iowa-presidential-debate/72108021007/


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