Tomorrow night’s much anticipated Republican showdown will probably disappoint more than inform. Here are a few thoughts on some of the candidates from Frank Luntz, one of the savviest Republican pollsters:
Scott Walker: He’s casual, he’s committed, he’s passionate.
Chris Christie: He too often yells at his audience and the audience doesn’t like it.
Ted Cruz: His challenge is not just to demonstrate he’s smart. He has to demonstrate that he can beat Hillary Clinton.
Jeb Bush: He’s got to stop reading his speeches.
Donald Trump: Nearly half of Republicans say Donald Trump is hurting the GOP’s image.
Ben Carson: Voters like Ben Carson as a person, but they’re not convinced he’s the next president of the United States.
Here are my predictions: The Fox News debate format will be criticized. Yes, every debate is criticized for something or other. This debate format will deserve it. Viewers will not have a reasonable chance to compare and contrast the candidates as they try to make judgments. Voters will have to be satisfied with quick impressions.
The candidate who may benefit is John Kasich. His confident but not arrogant style with a smile may be the perfect way to overcome the limitations of the format. The inability of other candidates to adapt could make Kasich look even better.
You can find Frank Luntz here: @FrankLuntz