Marco Rubio has overtaken Donald Trump and secured second place for the first time in USA TODAY’s weekly GOP Power Rankings.
Each week we ask about 30 political experts from around the country who they think is the strongest candidate in the Republican field. Trump dominated in the first weeks of our survey.
But last week, after a strong debate performance, Carly Fiorina knocked Trump from first place, and this week Rubio has knocked him out of second, based in part on the fading of other candidates.
“(Ted) Cruz and Rubio are very well positioned,” said Texas-based political consultant Matt Mackowiak. “Trump has hit his peak. Slow bleed ahead.”
Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire, summed up the state of the race this way: “Suddenly, Rubio finds daylight, moves into top tier.”
Rubio was in sixth place in our survey three weeks ago, but the second Republican debate improved his standing with our panel.
And Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s departure from the race last week created room for Rubio.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Paul Singer