Warren rises, Biden remains steady and Harris drops in new post-debate poll

A new national poll suggests Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is gaining ground after last week’s second round of Democratic presidential primary debates.

A Quinnipiac University survey – the first live telephone operator national poll conducted following the back-to-back prime time showdowns in Detroit – also indicates that Joe Biden remains the front-runner in the primary race, even though the former vice president sustained verbal attacks from many of his 2020 rivals on the debate stage.

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According to the poll, Biden stands at 32 percent support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, with Warren at 21 percent, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont at 14 percent and Sen. Kamala Harris of California at seven percent.

Biden’s support edged down two points – well within the survey’s sampling error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points – from a Quinnipiac poll conducted just prior to last week’s debates. Warren jumped six points, from 15 percent in the pre-debate poll. Sanders edged up three points from 11 percent and Harris dropped five points from her 12 percent standing in the late July survey.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg stood at five percent in the new poll, with Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas each at two percent.

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Political pundits gave Booker high marks for his forceful criticism of Biden during the debate, but the poll suggests he only received an insignificant one percent rise.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, former Housing and Urban Development Secy. Julian Castro and entrepreneur Andrew Yang registered at one percent – with everybody else in the record-setting field of some two-dozen Democratic White House contenders at less than one percent.

“Biden survives, Warren thrives and Harris dives as debate number two shakes up the primary,” Quinnipiac University poll assistant director Tim Malloy said. “Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s policy heavy presentation and former Vice President Joseph Biden’s ability to handle the heat from all corners put them on top.”

Eighty one-percent of those questioned said they watched or listened to all or most of the two-nights of debates or paid close attention to media stories about the showdowns. Of that group, 28 percent say Warren did the “best job” in the debate, with 15 percent for Biden, 8 percent for Sanders and 8 percent for Harris.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted Thursday through Monday, with 807Democrats and Democratic-leaning independent voters questioned.