Carly Fiorina's Poll Numbers Are Dropping, & Here Are 3 Possible Reasons

by Carla Faith

After a strong debate performance on Sept. 16 and a solid showing on Oct. 28, GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina's poll numbers are dropping. NBC News and Wall Street Journal conducted a poll before and after the last Republican debate on October 28th. Fiorina is showing at just 3 percent. Yikes.

Carly Fiorina's entrance into the Republican Primary Circus was met with a tentative, "Ok, let's see about her." The former CEO of Hewlett-Packard announced her intention to seek the nomination in early May, and her success as a woman in corporate America was, I admit, intriguing. Was she the conservative voter's answer to Hillary Clinton? Not sure. 

That's a shockingly quick demise from her 15 percent polling in September. She saw her numbers rise in the days after the September 16th debate but her tendency towards fibbing and a crowded race has left many doubting her ability to pull this thing off. Considering her puzzling need to kick women's rights back to the 17th century and her stance against same-sex marriage, can't say I'm losing sleep over her trailing numbers. Here are four reasons why she's dropping.

CEO Doesn't = President

You don't get to become the CEO of a billion-dollar company without smarts, know-how and ingenuity, especially when the C-Suite is still dominated by men. Those are qualities we all expect in the next president. Fiorina has described her six years at Hewlett-Packard as the perfect primer to her political ambitions because her experience with intense accountability and scrutiny over her work gives her an edge. At the debate last week, she advocated strongly for her corporate track record:

"I had to report results every 90 days in excruciating detail. If I misrepresented those results in any way I was held criminally liable. Imagine if a politician was held to that standard."

I applaud her effort to align her business acumen with her effectiveness and honesty as the president, but running a company - no matter the size - is not adequate political experience for one of the hardest jobs in the world.

The Trump-Carson Effect

Unfortunately, no discussion of the Republican primary race can ignore the rise of presidential hopeful Donald Trump and the man kicking at his heels, Dr. Ben Carson. The latter overtook Trump in the polls today, but the two have shared the number one and two spots for months. Their alarmist comments on sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia dominate the media, leaving candidates like Fiorina, Bush, and Christie in their wake. 

She's Incorrect

During the Oct. 28 debate, Fiorina claimed "every single policy of President Obama has been demonstrably bad for women," and that "92 percent of the jobs lost during Barack Obama's first term belonged to women." Uhh, no. Washington Post's fact checker quickly explained that this stat is now irrelevant and the Obama's jobs initiatives is a "winner." And Fiorina's contribution to the outcry against Planned Parenthood at the September 16th Republican debate was quickly discredited. Carly claimed that she'd seen a video of a live aborted fetus being cut open in order to harvest its organs. 

Republicans Aren't Ready For A Female Candidate

Fiorina showed an impressive degree of knowledge on foreign diplomacy in September's debate, but like many female politicians across all party lines, her competency is overshadowed by sexist hangups. In a poll from YouGov conducted in March 2015, just a third of Republicans hope that they will see a female president in their lifetimes. The unfortunate unwillingness of a her own party to accept that, yes, women can be strong political leaders may be her biggest downfall.

Despite her numbers, which might cause her to drop out sooner than expected, I can't ignore Fiorina's accomplishments. She is only one of three female Republicans who has run for her party's presidential nomination and her gumption hasn't gone unnoticed.

Her "snap in Z-formation" comeback to the criticism that Fiorina hadn't smiled enough during her first two debates debates last week also exposed the double standard she has shouldered. Why should she be worrying about flashing a toothy grin when she's discussing important topics that affect the lives of every day Americans? Let's hope her criticism of the media's unfair conditions on female politicians will help positively change the response to future female campaigns.

Images: Steve Pope, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images