Post-debate Democratic polling favors Biden

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Joe Biden

In four polls taken since the October 15th debate, former Vice President Joe Biden has lead by an average of more than 8 points over primary challenger Elizabeth Warren and the field. The race had drawn close prior to the debate, with Warren leading for the first time per RealClearPolitics average on October 8th. While the Biden had earned some separation prior to the debate, his lead now is especially notable considering Biden’s debate performance wasn’t great. Warren didn’t have the best performance either, though, refusing to answer whether taxes would increase on middle-class Americans under her presidency. 

Equally surprising is that Pete Buttigieg, widely declared the winner of the October debate, has not seen too much of a rise. He earned 6 points in each of the four polls, run by Politico, CNN, Emerson, and The Hill, respectively. His numbers are trending upwards in the RCP average thanks to these recent polls replacing some older, less favorable polls, but it is not in a remarkable way. Still, his 6.3 average is good enough for fourth place among the Democrats, but unlikely to challenge Bernie Sanders, with an average of 16.3, for third. If it does, though, it will have to happen in the next month, as his campaign is making a big push

The Politico/Morning Consult poll had Biden in front with 30 points, Warren in second with 21, and Sanders in third with 18. Buttigieg and Harris each had 6 points, and O’Rourke, Booker, and Yang each had 3. Three is an important number, because it is the threshold number for the November MSNBC debate. Yang and Booker have already qualified, but O’Rourke still needs one more poll. O’Rourke’s other two qualifying polls were the aforementioned CNN and The Hill polls, which each had Biden ahead of Warren and then Sanders, Harris, O’Rourke, and Yang. Klobuchar hit 3 points in the CNN poll, making it the first poll towards the November debate for her.

The remaining poll, by Emerson, had Biden in first with 27 points, and then Bernie Sanders in second with 25. Warren is in third with 21 points, and Buttigieg, Harris, and Yang all have more than 3 points. Interestingly, Tulsi Gabbard hit three points, making this her second poll towards that November debate.

Biden did lead the only Iowa-specific poll released this week by a lone point. The USA Today/Suffolk poll had Biden at 18 points, Warren at 17, Buttigieg in third at 13 points, and Sanders in fourth at 9. Harris, Steyer, Gabbard, and Klobuchar all had three points, while Yang, Booker, and O’Rourke had only one. Another state poll had Biden with a 15-point lead in California, while one in Massachusetts had Warren leading her home state by 15.

Update: A South Carolina poll released later in the day shows Biden 17 points ahead of Warren, with Sanders in third, and Harris in a distant fourth. Tom Steyer hit 4 points in the poll, but state-specific polls do not count towards the polling threshold in the same way as national polls do.

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Andrew Bartholomew

Andrew Bartholomew is a politics and election news writer from Iowa City, Iowa. He has previously worked for Young Americans for Liberty and was most recently the political director for a Republican congressional bid.

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