Debates and Dropouts


The time to vote in the presidential primaries is moving closer every day. With the first caucus occurring in Iowa on Feb. 1, and the first primary following just over a week later in New Hampshire on Feb 9, it’s crucial for Americans to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in the election world.

October has been a busy month for the candidates—the first Democratic Debate was televised by CNN on the Oct. 13, and the third Republican debate will be held on Oct. 28 on CNBC, with the candidates who are polling at 3 or more percent appearing during the primetime debate at 8 p.m., and the rest at the 6 p.m. debate.

After each debate, editors over at Ballotpedia survey Republican and Democrat insiders—which include pollsters, activists and strategists—to see who they consider the “winners and losers” of the debates. For both Republican debates so far, Marco Rubio has been one of the top three winners according to both the Republicans and Democrats. He was the biggest winner for Republicans after the Aug. 6 Debate, with 29 percent. Democrats placed John Kasich as the winner, with 30 percent, and 21 percent for Rubio.

Rubio became the third biggest winner for both parties after the Sept. 16 debate, with Carly Fiorina easily becoming the new winner. Nearly 50 percent of both parties proclaimed Fiorina as the winner, with the second biggest winners following behind with percentages in the mid-teens.

Hillary Clinton was considered the winner of the first Democratic debate by both parties. However, the differences in percentage between Clinton and the second place winner for both parties—Bernie Sanders—was much larger for the Democrats than the Republicans.

The number of candidates was also affected this month—two democratic candidates dropped out of the race within the span of only a few days. Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb dropped his bid for President on Oct. 20 and Lincoln Chaffee dropped out on Oct. 23. But most notably was Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement that he would not be running on Oct. 21. After spending months grieving over the death of his son Beau this past May, Biden decided that there was not a sufficient amount of time left for him to mount a successful campaign.

The Republican candidates have not seen any dropouts since Sept., when Rick Perry and Scott Walker left the race ten days apart.

The Dolphin conducted a survey on Oct. 24 asking students, staff and alumni what candidates and issues are most important to them. Out of the 49 respondents, 53 percent associated with the Democratic party, 16 percent with Independent, 16 percent with Republican and the remaining 9 percent were either unsure or preferred not to respond.

When asked which candidate they supported most, Bernie Sanders received a majority of votes with 59 percent, Hillary Clinton came in second with 16 percent. Meanwhile Donald Trump received three of the 47 votes, Jeb Bush two, and Ben Carson, Carly Fiornia and Marco Rubio each received one vote. Two people said that they did not support any of the current candidates and the other eleven candidates listed did not receive any votes.

The respondents were then asked to list which issues are most important to them. The wage gap, the Black Lives Matter movement, healthcare reform, fixing the economy, college tuition, immigration and the environment were all mentioned.

With only three months left until the first primaries, experts are predicting which candidates will make it to February. If the next few months are anything like the last two, there may only be a handful of candidates left by the end of winter.


Information in this article was gathered from,,, and