Though Detroit voters overwhelmingly described Thursday’s GOP debate as “sophomoric,” when Republican pollster Frank Luntz asked the Michigan focus group who they thought won the night, the group said only one candidate rose above the “disappointing” rhetoric.
Many came into the debate supporting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, but after the showdown, it was GOP hopeful John Kasich who emerged as the winner.
My 25-person focus group’s picks for winner tonight:
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) March 4, 2016
When asked for a show of hands, the majority of members agreed on Kasich, who they said was the “only adult in the room” and was “mature” in his discourse.
The voters revealed very negative feelings about the debate, saying it was an “embarrassment,” “shameful” and “despicable,” voicing disapproval over the tone of the discussion and the personal attacks that ensued. One even described the evening as a “schoolyard brawl.”
In fact, no one in the group felt the debate helped the Republican Party. “They are giving soundbite fuel for the Democrats,” one Michigan voter told Luntz.
The lowest point of the night, according to voter reaction, came when Republican presidential contender Marco Rubio slammed Trump University, which resulted in the billionaire businessman saying the Florida senator “couldn’t get elected dog catcher.”
“We’ve never tested something so low,” Luntz said, adding that Kasich, a governor, scored very high ratings when it came to foreign policy.
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