On the scale of 2016 Republican debates, Thursday night’s debate probably wasn’t the weirdest.
There was a lot of yelling, only one candidate was called a “basketcase” and somehow fruit salad (#fruitsalad!) got into the mix during a conversation about Supreme Court nominees.
Still, it was a pretty entertaining experience.
But you know what’s more fun than watching the Republican debates? Watching Twitter watch the Republican debates.
We got over 300 responses from people during and immediately after the Republican debate. There was a pretty even balance between Republican, Democratic, and Independent respondents, as well as between men and women. Here’s what we found.
The trouble with the Trump Train
Between the three presumed frontrunners (Trump, Cruz, and Rubio), most survey takers thought Rubio would benefit the most from his debate performance, while almost nobody thought Cruz would get a boost.
Survey takers didn’t think even frontrunner Donald Trump would get as much of a boost as Rubio, with 28%.
In fact, people’s opinions on Trump’s performance were pretty mixed in general.
But for all that, did it really matter? 75% of respondents still thought Trump would win the most delegates on Super Tuesday next week.
Trump ended up getting a lot of praise from people Thursday night, including slickest dresser with 32%.
Ben Carson wanted people to know he wasn’t getting enough attention. At one point, the focus on the back-and-forth between Rubio, Cruz, and Trump got so intense that Carson asked if someone could “please attack me” so that he could get some mic time.
But our respondents wanted to see less of him, not more. 47% said they wanted Carson to be the next candidate to drop out, far more than any other candidate still standing.
Speaking of missing time onstage, now that the field of candidates has thinned, we decided to ask people which candidate they missed seeing onstage most. It wasn’t the dynastic establishment-groomed Jeb Bush, though.
They wanted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who suspended his campaign shortly after lashing out at Marco Rubio during the last Republican debate in South Carolina.
Who do you trust? (To change a flat)
Like Ben Carson, Ohio Governor John Kasich escaped some of the worst heat in terms of insults. That meant he got to talk broadly about bipartisanism and practicality instead of throwing (and catching) jab after jab.
We wanted to have some more light-hearted questions in the survey (see best suit and tie above), so we asked respondents who they’d most like to have around when they got a flat. Kasich was the clear winner here, but we’re not actually sure why.
Maybe all his clean debating made him seem trustworthy. Or maybe he just looks like the kind of guy who can really swing a tire iron.
Ben Carson and and Ted Cruz tied for last place in this very-official metric with 9 and 10%.
Tell us what you really think
In the end we asked our survey takers two things: First, the one word that sums up the debate. They ranged from “gutsy” and “informative,” to “embarrassing” and “chaotic.” “Goat rodeo” even got in there.
Second, we asked them their favorite line of the night. People loved Ben Carson’s fruit salad comment, as well as his request for someone to please attack him.
Trump got his fair share, but they were mostly jabs against Marco Rubio. From telling him to “be quiet” to calling him “a basketcase.”
But Trump didn’t come out unscathed either. A big favorite of the night was when Trump defended himself by saying: “I don’t repeat myself. I don’t repeat myself. I don’t repeat myself.”
Did we miss your favorite moment of the Republican debate? Let us know in the Comments below!