Wednesday night, the GOP held the fourth of its presidential nomination debates, this one in Alabama, and hosted by NewsNation. The field has now been whittled down to four (plus former President Donald Trump, who once again opted not to attend): Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christia, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. 


Though there were fewer participants, the debate was not without some fireworks and some key moments, as we covered here at RedState: 

Megyn Kelly and Vivek Tag Team to Deliver No Good, Very Bad Day for Chris Christie During Debate

DeSantis Landed So Many Blows That He Even Triggered BlackRock, and the Ratio Was Glorious

GOP Debate Post-Mortem: Is Nikki Haley’s Candidacy Toast?

Calvin Coolidge: an Enigmatic Conservative President, Who, Thanks to Ron DeSantis, Gets Some Credit

On Thursday, the Washington Post released their polling results on the debate, and DeSantis came out the winner of this one. 

The 538-Washington Post-Ipsos poll of potential Republican primary and caucus voters who watched Wednesday’s debate, hosted by NewsNation, finds 30 percent thought DeSantis “performed best,” followed by 23 percent who chose Haley. This is a turn in fortunes for Haley, as after the last debate, our poll found that 34 percent of debate watchers thought she performed best, compared with 23 percent who said DeSantis performed best.

The poll asked 738 potential Republican primary or caucus voters: “No matter how you plan to vote, who do you think performed best in the Republican primary debate on Wednesday?”


As noted, DeSantis led the pack, with 30 percent of those surveyed concluding that he had the best performance of the night. Haley followed him with 23 percent; Christie wasn’t far behind her, coming in at 19 percent; and Ramaswamy trailed the pack with 16 percent. 

Conversely, Ramaswamy led the pack in terms of the second part of the question posed: “Who do you think performed the worst in the Republican primary debate on Wednesday?”

Debate watchers are more unified, however, in who they think performed the worst in Wednesday’s debate, with 37 percent choosing tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and 31 percent picking former New Jersey governor Chris Christie.

Nine percent awarded Haley the worst performance, with seven percent answering that DeSantis fared the worst. 

The next question is whether and to what extent Wednesday night’s showing will affect the upcoming caucuses and primaries. 

The Iowa Caucus will kick things off on January 15, 2024, followed by the New Hampshire primary on January 23rd. However, the candidates will get one more chance before each of those contests to woo voters. CNN announced Thursday that it would be hosting two additional debates in January: One on January 10th at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa (five days before the caucus), and one on January 21st at St. Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire (two days before the primary). 


Currently, the RCP Average has Trump far ahead of the pack at 61.3 percent, with DeSantis next at 13 percent, followed by Haley at 10.9 percent, Ramaswamy at 4.7 percent, and Christie at 2.6 percent. Currently, only Trump, DeSantis, and Haley appear assured of qualifying to participate in the Iowa debate. Whether Ramaswamy and Christie will remains to be seen.