First Post-Debate Poll Shows Little Movement In Democratic Field

The first poll since this week's debate concluded shows little movement in the race for the Democratic nomination.

The first poll since the debates on Tuesday and Wednesday night shows little change in the Democratic field, which is good news for Joe Biden and bad news for any of the lower-tier candidates seeking to get a bump over what could be their final appearance before a national audience as a Presidential candidate:

Former Vice President Joe Biden continued to command a steady lead against the crowded primary field after the second round of Democratic debates, according to a poll released Friday. 

The Morning Consult poll conducted after the debates found that 32 percent of potential Democratic primary voters selected Biden as their top choice candidates, compared to 33 percent after the first Democratic debate in June. 

The poll put Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in second place with 18 percent support, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in third with 15 percent support and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) in fourth with 10 percent support. After the first debate, Sanders had 19 percent support and Warren and Harris each had 12 percent support. 

The first Democratic debate did result in more changes, with Harris spiking from 6 percent support to 12 percent while Biden slid down from 38 percent. 

In the latest poll, conducted Aug. 1, researchers surveyed 2,419 registered voters who said they might vote in a Democratic primary or caucus. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

After Senator Harris, the poll has South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg coming in with 6%, Senator Cory Booker and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke are tied at 3%, and Andrew Yang at 2%. No other candidate is above 2% and there doesn’t appear to be any evidence in this poll that any of those candidates are on the verge of rising in out of where they’ve been mired virtually from the time they entered the race. As I noted yesterday, this puts them in danger of not qualifying for the third and fourth rounds of the debate schedule which will take place in September and October respectively.

Obviously, this is only one poll that was taken in the immediate aftermath of the two-night debate event. We’ll have to wait for additional polling to see if the debate had any impact at all on the state of the race or the makeup of the top tier of candidates. If this poll is any indication, though, then it appears that the second debate has done little to shake up the race. That’s good news for former Vice-President Biden, but bad news for any candidate hoping that their efforts to jumpstart their campaign this week would have any impact whatsoever

FILED UNDER: Bernie Sanders, Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. michael reynolds says:

    A lot could happen, but it seems to be coming down to Libs vs. Progs, with Biden representing the Libs and Warren speaking for the Progs. That’s the main front, all the other battles are skirmishes around the fringe. If something big doesn’t move in the next month or so we’re going to start having calls for getting it over with and uniting behind Biden.

    And let’s not forget: Obama is still out there. No one in Team Blue carries anything like the authority he does. He’ll never diss Biden, but if Biden looks to be weakening, he may give him a nudge toward the door.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    BTW, if you haven’t seen this, it’s cocaine for political junkies:

  3. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @michael reynolds: A friend sent that to me earlier today, and it really is interesting. The “without Bernie” graph does a good job, I think of demonstrating which candidates have appeal beyond their immediate hometown advantage. Which is basically those that we’ve collectively identified here as the top 5.

  4. Teve says:

    6 months til the primary voting starts. That’s an eternity in politics.

  5. Jen says:

    @michael reynolds: That is fascinating.

    I’m puzzled/intrigued by the not-Sanders map. First, how most candidates have some spillover effect into surrounding states–but Warren hits a hard wall in Southern NH, where Pete Buttigieg has a strong financial showing. Biden is all over the eastern seaboard all the way down to FL, and deep into the south, but not much of a financial showing in the Northeast.

    For Harris’s poll showings, I would have thought she’d have at least some strong showing somewhere outside of CA, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. What’s going on with Buttigieg’s showing in Idaho and North Dakota?

    This really is incredibly interesting.

  6. michael reynolds says:

    Biden’s map is basically a map to the black belt. African-Americans are with him. Buttigieg’s map shows the locations of Indiana plus heavily gay areas, the Castro, Manhattan. Warren’s is a map to the well-educated.

    I’ll predict that if the black women voters of South Carolina stick with Biden, he wins. The schedule is: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Iowa’s unpredictable, but I don’t see Biden losing NH, NV and SC unless someone has lured away the black vote.

  7. Teve says:

    Colorado Pols

    BREAKING: New domain registrations suggest
    is about to make the jump to the 2020 #cosen race, where he would become the immediate frontunner to take on
    . (link:… #copolitics #copols #coleg

  8. michael reynolds says:

    That would be excellent news. Bullock needs to follow his lead.

  9. Jen says:

    @michael reynolds: Buttigieg’s strength in southern NH can’t be written off to just pulling heavily gay areas.

    My point was, I’m surprised that Warren isn’t pulling more money from here. My guess is that Buttigieg might actually be taking some of Biden’s contributions, and that Sanders is maintaining a fair amount of the support he had before (but clearly not all of it).

    There’s a reasonably strong and young tech community in southern NH, fueled in part by Dean Kamen’s companies, along with a spreading of Boston’s tech up to where there’s no income or sales taxes. That could be playing well with a young/educated/liberal contingency that Buttigieg likely taps into.

    I think it’s too early to suggest Biden will win NH without a fight. This state can be a little contrary. Hillary won the 2008 Dem. primary, and Sanders won in 2016. McCain won over Bush in 2000. Etc.

  10. Gustopher says:


    Buttigieg’s strength in southern NH can’t be written off to just pulling heavily gay areas.

    Have you been to Southern New Hampshire? I’ve never seen so much rainbow flannel in my life…

  11. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds: I don’t think it’s Libs vs. Progs yet — polling has shown that Biden’s supporters second pick is Bernie and vice versa, and that the same is going on for Harris and Warren.

    I don’t think it’s boys vs. girls either. I think people aren’t paying attention yet, and lower information voters are favoring the known candidates, and it’s skewing everything.

    It might be all but decided before people start paying attention, of course.

  12. Jen says:


    I live in New Hampshire, and know the state rather well.

  13. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “If something big doesn’t move in the next month or so ”

    The next month or so? Call me crazy, but I’m willing to wait until at least three or four people have actually voted.

  14. michael reynolds says:

    Well, you will never be a pundit @wr. Waiting around for actual events to take place before you analyze said event? That’s just crazy talk.