Everyone thinks Rubio’s debate performance from last night is going to hurt him.
And of course, the moment that people are going to be remembering is Rubio. And it is important to point out, because he had a strong debate other than that, but unfortunately for Rubio that moment is the one that is going to be remembered…
Hayes, Hume, Baier, pretty much the whole Fox News crew agrees.
Not to pee in their Cheerios, but I disagree. Rubio stayed on message. His TV ads in New Hampshire are very old-school and very generic. His positive message resonates with Yankee sensibilities in Granite Staters, who quickly tire of negativity.
The governors have mercilessly gone after each other, and that’s hurt them as a group. Christie may have helped himself to a few more votes, but he failed to hurt Rubio. Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight takes a similar position of caution against the pundit pig-pile on Rubio.
But a lot of caution is also in order. Pundits haven’t misgauged the impact of a debate since … well, since only about a week ago, when the “smart take” was that Trump had won the final Iowa debate by not having shown up for it, and that Ted Cruz had a poor evening. Instead, Cruz won the Iowa caucuses a few days later, with Trump in second with a vote share well below where polls had projected him.
Silver went on to make my point: “There’s a fine line between a candidate who seems stilted and repetitive and one who seems ‘on message’ instead.”
Rubio was on message. His message is working in New Hampshire. Voters there will filter a lot of the static out and realize they’re hearing consistency from Rubio. With Trump slipping, I don’t think Rubio had a bad night at all.