The race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination is turning out to be far more volatile than it appeared prior to last week’s two nights of debates among 20 of the candidates in the field, as a flurry of polls released this week have shown. After a Quinnipiac University poll made public early on Tuesday showed California Senator Kamala Harris pulling into a virtual tie against former Vice President Joe Biden, as NBC News reported, a poll by the online research firm YouGov showed a similar result — except this time it is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren who has closed the gap on Biden.
In the new YouGov poll, as reported by FiveThirtyEight.com, Warren now stands at 22 percent support, just a single point behind Biden at 23 percent — a drop of seven points for the former vice president and six-term senator from the previous YouGov poll, taken before the debates.
Harris, whose dramatic confrontation with Biden at Thursday’s debate over racial issues — as The Inquisitr reported — more than doubled her standing among black voters in the Quinnipiac poll, trailed in the YouGov poll at 17 percent. The other loser from the debate among the top candidates was Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who slipped one point from 16 percent to 15, according to YouGov.
But the news from the YouGov poll was not all bad for Biden. If Democratic voters cast their ballots based on the candidate they think stands the best chance of defeating Donald Trump, Biden maintains a clear advantage, according to a Washington Post analysis of the YouGov number.
The poll showed that 73 percent of voters in the YouGov poll believe that Biden will beat Trump in the 2020 general election, up slightly from 71 percent in the previous poll by the same research firm. But while the perception of Sanders’ chances remained basically the same, at 55 percent down from 56, it was Harris who was the big winner, with the perception that she can beat Trump jumping by 15 points, from 41 percent to 56.
Warren also increased, from 51 percent to 57 percent in the belief of voters that she can defeat Trump. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg also saw a six-point increase — but at just 37 percent he still has a steep hill to climb to persuade Democratic voters that he is the candidate to vanquish Trump in November of 2020.
“Warren and Biden are now statistically indistinguishable in the horserace (only one point apart), and the aura of inevitability around Biden has disappeared,” polling expert Sean McElwee told The Post, in an email.