60 Plus Ranked Choice Poll Examines the Republican Presidential Field After First Debate

60 Plus ran an unscientific national poll of 730+ likely Republican presidential primary voters following the first Republican presidential debate on August 24. The ranked choice poll provides more information on voter preferences, including voters’ backup choices and which candidate they prefer if their favorite drops out of the race.

The memo below outlines toplines and key findings, including

  • Trump leads in first-place votes with 28% to DeSantis’ 21%
  • However, when other candidates are eliminated, Ron DeSantis leads in the end under a ranked choice voting tabulation beating Trump head-to-head 55%-45%
  • If Trump were not in the race, DeSantis and Ramaswamy would benefit. Second-choice preferences provide valuable information on voter preferences: DeSantis (35%) and Vivek Ramaswamy (31%) are by far the most common second choices for Trump voters.
    • DeSantis would beat Ramaswamy head-to-head 63%-37%

Click here for PDF with poll results and analysis

Interactive visual results:

Preferential Polling

Respected firm WPA Intelligence also fielded a national poll of 800 likely Republican presidential primary voters following the first Republican presidential debate.

Allowing respondents to rank their choices, rather than choose only their top one or two candidates, provides us invaluable insights into our Republican base. 

Especially early in a primary, many voters are still making a decision about which candidate to support. Voters start grouping candidates into those they like and those they will not support. Seeing how voters would rank each candidate reveals patterns and can provide a glimpse into how the race will develop over time. 

Understanding which candidates voters like the least shows which messages are resonating and which are falling flat. 

Preferential polling also allows us to simulate where voters move if and when their preferred candidates drop out of the race. 

More and more data scientists and organizations are using preferential polling to get a fuller picture of how voters are deciding which candidates to support.

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