Utah Policy/KSL Insider Survey: Who Won the Second GOP Debate?

Carly Fiorina was the big winner of the second GOP primary debate according to our "Political Insiders" panel.

The former HP CEO was tapped as the winner by nearly half of the Republicans on our panel, 50% of the Democrats and more than a third of our readers.


Florida Senator Marco Rubio was picked as the winner by 17% of the Republicans we asked and 21% of our readers. No Democrats said Rubio had the best outing of the GOP field.

Donald Trump, who was leading the national polls heading into the debate, did not perform particularly well according to our panel. Just 5% of the Republicans, 7% of the Democrats and 20% of our readers said he had the best performance.

Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson were the only candidates who were shut out in our survey. They scored 0% across the board in all of our groups.

8% of Republicans and 6% of our readers said they did not watch the debate. 22% of the Democrats on our panel said they did not tune in.

Selected anonymous comments:

"The one candidate who has not gotten dirty and comes off as a young Reagan is Marco Rubio. I am looking forward to seeing him become the nominee and next President of the United States. Admit it, it would be fun to see Marco debate Biden and liberals foam at the mouth when their candidate is the old white man they have been railing against for the last 16 years. Marco is a game changer."

"Once all the fringe candidates and non-starters are gone, and the field becomes clearer Marco Rubio will emerge as the frontrunner and eventual nominee. Democrats should be very afraid of Rubio, who just keeps getting better as the grind wears on. He could very well be a new John F Kennedy in the making."

"A group of talking heads. None offered positive solutions to the problems this country is facing."

"Carly Fiorina told the biggest, widest, most outrageous lies, thus: she is the winner of a GOP debate."

"How would the Dems look matched up against a ticket with some combination of Fiorina / Rubio / Carson?"

"Rubio's sound bites were slick and well-rehearsed. Christie may get a bump. Carson tanked. Carly needs to lighten up and smile – she came off like the Wicked Witch of the Left. Bush thinks Trump should apologize to his wife while ISIS is hacking off heads. Cruz is great but needs to relax and let it flow. Trump for the win."

"Fiorina stood out as a strong debater, and she has mastered the sound bite. I also thought John Kasich did well."

"The fact that Fiorina was there and did well and had a couple of memorable comments makes her the winner. The others who did not hurt themselves were Rubio, Christie, and Bush. The biggest loser of the night was Carson. He looked somewhat lost."

"Florina won the battle with Trump, but I think Christie ultimately reminded voters what is really at stake in this election, and reminded voters of his passion."

"Rand Paul was the only one who didn't seem insane. He wins by default."


"Fiorina was the adult in the room. Proved she is Presidential quality. Took on The Donald and made him look small."

"The Democrats were the big winners."

"Carly and Marco had the best showing, really almost a toss up, except Marco was a bit stronger on foreign policy."

"I don't know if she's presidential material, but Fiorina is showing some real fight."

"What a colossal waste of anyone's time. I would rather have a root canal."

"Rand Paul's articulate and thoughtful response on Syria and ISIS showed that he was ready to be commander in chief. Hands down victory with limited time."