Post-Debate 2020 Polls Show Harris Bounce But Biden Falls

kamala biden

Getty Kamala Harris challenged Joe Biden.

A post-debate poll released by CNN shows that Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren gained in support and Joe Biden’s support fell after the first Democratic primary debate in the 2020 presidential race. However, Biden still has the highest level of support.

Furthermore, when voters were asked, “Regardless of who you may support, which Democratic candidate for president do you think has the best chance to beat Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election?” they overwhelmingly chosen Biden, with 43% (Bernie Sanders, whose support is also sinking in the poll somewhat, scored second on this question.)

A whopping 41% felt Kamala Harris did best in the first debate, with Elizabeth Warren a distant second and Joe Biden third.

A spate of other polls are telling a similar story. A new Hill-HarrisX poll, also conducted after the first debate, found that Harris received a 6-point bump, placing her third among voters. In a previous poll, she was tied with Warren and Pete Buttigieg for that slot. However, the poll showed Biden with 33% support, Bernie Sanders with 15 percent (a 2 percent increase), and Harris with 11%.

A third post-debate poll, by Morning Consult, “surveyed 2,407 Democratic primary voters immediately following the first Democratic primary debate.” That poll found Biden leading with 33%, Sanders with 19%, and Harris with 12%. That also represented a drop for Biden and increase for Harris, however.

Kamala Harris polls

GettyKamala Harris, shown here at a January 27 rally in Oakland, is among the Democratic frontrunners.

Biden was widely regarded as having a tough first Democratic presidential primary debate (which ran over two days on June 26 and 27, 2019); in what many considered the debate’s defining moment, Harris went after the former Vice President on his long-ago opposition to busing.

Elizabeth Warren, perhaps, benefited because she was on a different stage the day before with lesser known candidates; her performance was generally praised, and the CNN polling numbers bear this out. You can read the full CNN poll here.

According to the CNN poll, “The study was conducted for CNN via telephone by SSRS, an independent research company. Interviews were conducted from June 28-30, 2019 among a sample of 1,613 respondents. The landline total respondents were 565and there were 1,048cell phone respondents. The margin of sampling error for total respondents is +/-3.0at the 95% confidence level.”

The following chart measured Democrats/Democratic-leaning independents’ preferred candidate in the CNN poll. The percentage in brackets represents the change in support since May:


CNN Poll [6/28/19 to 6/30/19]

Joe Biden 22% (-10%)
Kamala Harris 17% (+9%)
Elizabeth Warren 15% (+8%)
Bernie Sanders 14% (-4%)
Pete Buttigieg 4% (-1%)
Cory Booker 3% (no change)
Beto O’Rourke 3% (-2%)
Amy Klobuchar 2% (no change)

The favorability ratings for some of the candidates – such as Warren, Harris, and Buttigieg – have grown slightly. Asked, “Do you think the government should provide a national health insurance program for all Americans, even if this would require higher taxes,” 56% of those polled by CNN said yes.

However, when asked, “Do you think health insurance coverage provided by the government should or should not be available to undocumented immigrants living in the United States?” there was a different result, with 59% of those polled saying no. That question formed a dramatic debate moment as all candidates raised their hands when asked whether they supported such a plan.

GettyDemocratic presidential candidates (L-R) former tech executive Andrew Yang, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) raise their hands during the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida.

Asked, “And thinking about the people who may be running in the Democratic primaries for president in 2020, aside from the candidate you support, which candidates do you most want to hear more about? You can name up to three,” voters named Kamala Harris the most, followed by Warren, Buttigieg, and Cory Booker.

People polled gave Biden highest marks as the candidate they think is best poised to handle the economy. Bernie Sanders scored highest on healthcare; Biden and Sanders tied for the candidate best positioned to handle climate change; and Kamala Harris scored highest on race relations.

READ NEXT: Debate Winners and Losers.


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