In the first GOP debate, [Ben] Carson’s genteel performance led many a pundit to dismiss his staying power in the primary. But despite their forecasting, Carson has continued to gain ground in the polls and now sits at number two behind Trump.
What can account for this success?
First, there’s evidence that real voters paid more attention to Carson in last night’s debate than Beltway elites did, according to this analysis from Echelon Insights. And Carson was the third-most discussed candidate on Facebook, after Trump and Fiorina, and the fifth-most-mentioned candidate on Twitter.
Second, Carson has shown he is not interested in the debate as a popularity contest. Instead, his campaign has taken a note from an undercard debate contestant: Rick Santorum.