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There was no clear winner of Wednesday’s first Republican debate of the 2024 presidential primary. Though the betting market says Gov. Ron DeSantis helped his case most.
Ahead of the debate, DeSantis’ odds to win the general election sat at +2300. He trailed Biden (+200), Trump (+270), Ramaswamy (+1150), and Kennedy Jr. (+2300).
Friday, odds for DeSantis shifted to +1800. He moved ahead of of RFK Jr. and closer to Ramaswamy, who dipped to +1300.
Here are the latest odds via Odds Checker:
Nikki Haley also jumped from +6900 on Wednesday to +5000 on Friday. According to the corporate press, Haley had the best debate outing. The media particularly cheered her use of the woman card.
“If you want something done, ask a woman,” Haley said on stage with six other men.
But as I discussed with Stacy Washington on SiriusXM Thursday, the woman card is more effective amongst media members than GOP voters, most of whom reject identity politics.
Therefore, DeSantis’ night is likely to carry over more so than Haley’s.
DeSantis came out of Thursday unscathed. The on-stage candidates focused primarily on Ramaswamy, mostly leaving DeSantis alone.
Gov. DeSantis was, at times, passive. But it was effective.
He answered the questions, touted his objectively impressive role as Florida governor, and moved out of the way to let Pence, Christie, and Haley battle with Ramaswamy.
While it will be an uphill battle for any GOP rival to unseat Trump, DeSantis remains the most likely alternative on the board.
By comparison, Vivek Ramaswamy had moments on Thursday — some positive and some negative.
Ramaswamy drew loud applause for being the only candidate to raise his hand in opposition to further funding for Ukraine.
But his impersonation of Barack Obama — calling himself a “skinny guy with a funny last name” — did not land.
Odds for Sen. Tim Scott were, again, too low to register on the chart. Scott was perhaps the biggest loser of the debate, often shying away from the discourse with an unremarkable performance.
The next Republican debate will take place at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute in Simi Valley, California, on Sept. 27.
Donald Trump has not announced whether he will participate in the second debate. He claims to have skipped the first due to a sizable lead over the competition. His lead is likely to be just as sizable come late September.
Though Fox News did average 12.8 million viewers during the debate. The better-than-expected average suggests a greater interest in Trump’s GOP challengers than the polls suggest.