Businessman Donald Trump remains the leader in the race for the GOP presidential nomination in the wake of the first debate, a new NBC/Survey Monkey poll
Businesswoman Carly Fiorina, widely touted as the winner of the earlier "happy hour" debate of the lower-tiered candidates also got good news. She rose six points up to 8 percent – enough to put her in fourth place. If that trend continues in other polls she would earn a spot in the next GOP debate in September between the top 10 candidates.
The poll was conducted during a 24-hour period overnight Friday into Saturday morning while controversy raged over Trump's debate exchanges with Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly and his remarks about her later. That also was coupled with RedState chief Erick Erickson's decision to disinvite Trump to speak to the RedState Gathering on Saturday.
Trump was the choice of 23 percent of the Republican primary voters who were asked who they would vote for if the primary were being held right now — a one-point uptick from last week. Sen. Ted Cruz moved into second with 13 percent — up seven points from the previous week.
Ben Carson moved up three points and is now at 11 percent. He is in third place.
Here's how all the candidates included fared:
- Donald Trump, 23 percent (up 1 point)
- Ted Cruz, 13 percent (up 7 points)
- Ben Carson, 11 percent (up 3 points)
- Carly Fiorina, 8 percent (up 6 points)
- Marco Rubio, 8 percent (no change)
- Jeb Bush, 7 percent (down 3 points)
- Scott Walker, 7 percent (down 3 points)
- Mike Huckabee, 5 percent (up 1 point)
- Rand Paul, 5 percent (down 1 point)
- Rick Perry, 2 percent (no change)
- John Kasich, 2 percent (down 1 point)
- Lindsey Graham, 1 percent (no change)
- Bobby Jindal, 1 percent (no change)
- Chris Christie, 1 percent (down 2 points)
- George Pataki, 0 percent (no change)
- Rick Santorum, 0 percent (down 1 point)
Trump, who has never run for office before, has survived multiple controversial comments that experts predicted would take him down. It started when he said in his June 16 campaign announcement that Mexico was sending its criminals across the border.
Trump only gained popularity with people who want better border enforcement. When he later was dismissive of Arizona Sen. John McCain's war record, he survived again, even though some of his GOP rivals and the Republican National Committee took him to task.
In Thursday's debate, Trump again sparked controversy when he declined to pledge not to run third party if he doesn't win the GOP nomination. Then he got into an argument with moderator Megyn Kelly over his Twitter history.
When he criticized her the next day, saying that she was so angry blood was coming from her eyes and "from her wherever," critics jumped, saying he was making a sexist comment about menstrual cycles.
Trump said that wasn't true and that he had meant from her nose or ears. The phrase is a common one referring to someone being angry, he said.
Some of Trump's own supporters were critical of him for the comment, but if he lost any, he more than made up for them, as his 1 percent rise in the NBC poll
Despite Trump's continued rise, Fiorina may owe some her her own rise to her criticism of Trump in the early debate. She mockingly noted that she had not received a phone call from Bill Clinton as it had just been reported that Trump had, and asked the other candidates on the early card whether they had.
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