USA Today Power Rankings Place Carly Fiorina at #1, Topping Trump for First Time in GOP Race

power-rankings

Debates matter.

On the strength of two strong debate performances, Carly Fiorina has vaulted to first place in USA Today’s GOP Power Rankings, unseating Donald Trump for the first time since we launched this project. This from a candidate who did not even qualify for the main-stage debate in early August.

Our panel of about 30 smart political minds agreed that Fiorina is rising and Trump appearing to fade. The survey also showed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker sliding again, this time to 11th place, with the voting conducted before he announced Monday night that he was dropping out of the race.

“Scott Walker is perilously close to being voted off the island,” Kathy Sullivan, former New Hampshire Democratic party chairwoman, said Sunday afternoon. She did not know just how close. Late Monday he said he was exiting the race to reduce the competition among those running against Trump.

Adam Sharp of Twitter measured Fiorina’s rise in tweets. “Carly Fiorina came out of the second debate in the top three as measured by Twitter conversation, duking it out with Trump for the top spot in the first half,” Sharp said. “Voter interest was peaked, and she closed the night with the sharpest increase in Twitter followers of any candidate in the race.”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also jumped from 6th place to 3rd in our rankings this week on the strength of a strong debate. “Rubio has had the best week in many ways,” said Phil Musser of the Republican digital marketing firm IMGE. “Elevator continues steadily up, but not too fast.”

Despite falling to the second-place spot in our power rankings and being widely panned for his debate performance, Trump still got 14 first-place votes from our panelists, one more than Fiorina’s 13. But the rest of his votes were all over the map, as low as 10th place on some ballots, while Fiorina was No. 2 in nearly every ballot that did not have her in first place.

WEEK 4 RANKINGS

1. CARLY FIORINA (LAST WEEK: 3)

2. DONALD TRUMP (1)

3. MARCO RUBIO (6)

4. BEN CARSON (2)

5. JEB BUSH (4)

6. TED CRUZ (5)

7. JOHN KASICH (7)

8. CHRIS CHRISTIE (11)

9. MIKE HUCKABEE (8)

10. RAND PAUL (10)

11. SCOTT WALKER* (9)

12. LINDSEY GRAHAM (14)

13. RICK SANTORUM (13)

14. BOBBY JINDAL (12)

15. GEORGE PATAKI (15)

16. JIM GILMORE (16)

*The survey was conducted before Walker dropped out of the race on Monday.

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SOURCE: Paul Singer 
USA Today

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