The GOP debate drew a record 24 million viewers to Fox News and ultimately there were winners and losers. Sports book WilliamHill has adjusted their odds to win the Republican nomination.
Winners and Losers
Defining winners and losers in Thursday's GOP Debate is subjective at best but what we must do is analyze what the political pundits are saying and take the temperature of those voting Americans who watched the top 10 engage in a series of sound bites. After the political scrum had ended this is what the latest polling numbers show regarding each candidate's favorability rating.
As you can see retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson won the likeability contest but that doesn't mean he won the debate. Carson was affable, polite and scored the best punch line of the night when he delivered this bon mot, "I'm the only one to take out half a brain, but if you went to Washington you would think someone had beat me to it."
Many have declared that Marco Rubio, the fresh-faced junior senator from Florida, acquitted himself quite nicely and saw his favorability numbers reach close to 70% after the debate ended.
By all accounts Ohio Governor John Kasich struck a chord as well but his "my father was a mailman" is beginning to sound like fingernails on a chalkboard.
Jeb Bush has been branded both a winner and loser by those who are supposedly "in-the-know" but I saw him as a more gentlemanly candidate than I had before and that presidential presence can go a long way towards ameliorating any stumbles he has had along the way.
Donald Trump got all the press before, during and after but this debate did him no favors. He came across as petty, boorish and ham-handed when trying to answer tough questions with his usual reckless abandon. The Donald needs to get a political advisor who will tell him things like his "resting face" is that of a sourpuss and better begin learning to turn that frown upside down otherwise that kisser alone will have voters scrambling for pretty faces like Marco Rubio or Scott Walker. Yes, we are that superficial and savvy political spin doctors know all about it.
Even though Donald Trump appeared to lose a bit of ground the clear loser in all of this was Rand Paul. The quirky libertarian was ready to rumble and engaged in a sparring session with Chris Christie and fearlessly poked Trump as well. Unfortunately his feisty came off as freaky and that showed in the polling afterwards where 67% declared him less favorable than before the debate.
In the minor league debate, held a few hours before the big boys captivated America, it was Carly Fiorina who swept the board and will most likely be called up to the majors when the top GOP candidates debate again in September. Fiorina was joined by Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham and some guy named Jim Gilmore on the small stage.
What do the Republican Oddsmakers Say?
WilliamHill has been on the pulse of the presidential scene so let's take a look at how they perceived the debate and who they claimed were winners and losers.
Winner - Donald Trump's odds were lowered from 7-1 to 5-1 to capture the GOP nomination while his bid to win the White House moved from 14-1 to 10-1. After his shaky performance on Thursday night I'm not sure why the boys at William Hill are even more bullish on Trump but everyone has an opinion.
Winner - Jeb Bush is the chalk in the field despite the fact that he is trailing Trump in all major polls. Bush's betting odds shortened up from 11-8 to 5-4.
Winner - Carly Fiorina may still be a longshot to top the Republican ticket but her stellar performance saw her odds cut in half from 50-1 to 25-1.
Other Winners - John Kasich's odds dropped from 20-1 to 16-1, Ben Carson moved from 28-1 to 22-1, Chris Christie from 28-1 to 20-1 and Ted Cruz's odds plummeted 40-1 to 25-1.
Loser - Marco Rubio saw his front-running status reined in just a bit as the lines makers at William Hill saw fit to move him from 7-2 to 4-1. Why? I have no idea. Rubio was lauded on Thursday night by most political experts and was definitely one of the most poised and polished candidates throughout the evening.
Loser - Scott Walker, like Marco Rubio, saw his 7-2 odds change to a more bettor friendly 4-1. Unlike their downgrade on Rubio this shift makes sense. Walker was more of an afterthought than a front-running juggernaut when the dust had settled.
Betting Odds to Win Republican Nomination
Jeb Bush 5/4 (11/8)
Marco Rubio 4/1 (7/2)
Scott Walker 4/1 (7/2)
Donald Trump 5/1 (8/1)
Rand Paul 12/1
Mike Huckabee 16/1
John Kasich 16/1 (20/1)
Ben Carson 22/1 (28/1)
Chris Christie 20/1 (28/1)
Ted Cruz 25/1 (40/1)
Lindsey Graham 66/1 (40/1)
Carly Fiorina 25/1 (50/1)
Rick Santorum 80/1 (50/1)
George Pataki 80/1 (66/1)
Bobby Jindal 100/1 (80/1)
Rick Perry N/A
Jim Gilmore N/A
Betting Odds to be Winning Party
Democrats 2/3 (8/11)
Republicans 6/5 (11/10)