According to a group of viewers assembled by Fox News Channel pollster Frank Luntz, two Republican candidates known for their brash rhetoric scored big points in Wednesday’s debate.
First, a large majority expressed support for Chris Christie’s populist message, which began when he directed cameras to pan the audience rather than focus on the candidates on stage. His high point, many in the focus group said, came when the New Jersey governor addressed fellow candidates Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina during a discussion of their respective business acumen.
“I gotta tell you,” he said to the pair, “they could care less about your careers. They care about theirs. Let’s start talking about that on this stage.”
He then turned the discussion to America’s middle class, which resonated with many in Luntz’s group.
“You’re both successful,” Christie told Trump and Fiorina. “Congratulations. You know who’s not successful? The middle class in this country whose getting plowed over by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”
Almost everyone in the focus group identified as a member of the broadly defined middle class, with one viewer concluding it is “what the debate should be about.”
Trump’s views on North Korea also earned praised from the focus group.
Acknowledging that there are “bad actors” in Iran, the real estate tycoon said even more attention should be paid to a nation that already possesses – and threatens to use – nuclear weapons.
“Nobody ever mentions North Korea,” Trump said, “where you have this maniac sitting there and he actually has nuclear weapons.”
Drudge Report asked its audience to weigh in on the debate, which resulted in more than 630,000 votes as of this writing and a decisive victory for Trump. The front-runner earned more than half of the votes while second-place finisher Fiorina received nearly 22 percent.
Who do you think won Wednesday’s debate? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.