Carly Fiorina's rave reviews in the latest debate are translating to the polls: She now trails only Donald Trump in a new CNN/ORC survey of Republican voters. Trump still leads with 24%, ahead of Fiorina at 15% and Ben Carson at 14%, but her numbers in that trio of outsider-ish candidates are rising while theirs are falling. Trump, for example, is down 8 percentage points from earlier in the month. Marco Rubio rose to fourth place at 11%, followed by Jeb Bush (9%), Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee (6%), and the rest at 4% or less. Of note in the last camp: Scott Walker stands at less that half a percentage point.
The Hill suggests that Fiorina is pleasing the party's base by shifting to the right on hot-button issues such as abortion and immigration, at least compared to her losing 2010 Senate race. It cites a "noticeable hardening of her rhetoric." In the debate, for instance, drew loud applause for condemning the Planned Parenthood videos, describing a "fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain." Afterward, she shrugged off criticism that the videos don't actually depict that scene by calling it an accurate description of what's happening in that field. “Rest assured that human lives are being aborted, fully formed, in order to harvest body parts," she said. (Read more Carly Fiorina 2016 stories.)