He may look sleepy to Donald Trump, but Ben Carson has a formidable +60 favorability rating among Republicans as the candidates get tuned up for tonight's GOP debate in Boulder, Colorado, Gallup reports.
Carson's net favorable score -- the difference between his favorable and unfavorable ratings -- is 20 percentage points higher than the next-highest-rated candidate, Marco Rubio. Donald Trump and Jeb Bush both have relatively high unfavorable ratings, pushing their net favorable scores well below those of several other candidates.
Carly Fiorina has the third-highest net favorable rating of the nine Republicans that Gallup is tracking, at +33, followed by Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, and Trump. Bush, whose familiarity among Republicans is second only to Trump's, has a net favorable score of +19, above only Christie and Kasich.
Carson's big lead on the measure of net favorability is based on his 68% favorable rating, the highest of any candidate, and his 8% unfavorable rating, which is the lowest.
Gallup's candidate image ratings are based on interviews conducted Oct. 13-26 with approximately 800 to 900 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents evaluating each candidate.
Tonight's debate, the third in the series, doesn't bestow a home-court advantage on any of the candidates. In fact, the liberal college town might even be considered hostile territory. Marijuana and same-sex marriage are popular there, and, with an elevation of 5,430 feet, the air is thin enough to produce a contact high even when the smoke has cleared.
So far, Carson and Fiorina have benefited most from the debates. Just prior to the first debate, Carson's net favorable score was essentially tied with Rubio's, with Fiorina near the bottom of the list. By the eve of the second debate, both Carson's and Fiorina's images had improved significantly, and have stayed the same or edged up further in the time since.
Christie's image has also improved, but given his starting point at -2 prior to the first debate, his current +10 net favorable score places him just above Kasich at the bottom of the list.
Notably, Kasich and Bush are the only candidates whose images are worse now than just prior to the first debate, although Bush's current +19 is an improvement over the depths to which he fell just before the second debate. Kasich's image did rise shortly after the first debate, but then fell back again and has remained low since.
Net favorable scores for Rubio, Cruz, and Huckabee have not changed much over time.
Republicans' views of Trump have varied over the last three months. Although his current net favorable score is higher than it was prior to the first debate in early August, Gallup's two-week rolling averages show considerable change. His net favorable score rose going into the second debate in September and fell after the debate, but has now returned to where it was.