Joe Biden's Decline Continues In New Poll, Holds Narrow Lead Over Elizabeth Warren But Support Called 'Weak'

The state of the 2020 Democratic primary race continues to shift a week after the first set of debates among the expansive field of candidates, and so far the big losers have been the front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his closest competitor, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Biden has seen almost five points disappear from his lead since June 28, one week ago, according to the Real Clear Politics average of all polls. Sanders has lost more than two points in the RCP average.

The other loser has been South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who has lost more than a point from his average.

A new poll released on July 4 by The Economist magazine and the research firm YouGov does nothing to dispel those concerns for Biden and Sanders. On the other hand, the new Economist/YouGov poll shows that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and, in particular, California Senator Kamala Harris have made significant gains since last week's debates.

In fact, in the poll of 631 "likely" voters, Warren has closed to within three points of Biden, whose support fell from 24 percent in the last pre-debate Economist/YouGov poll, to 21 percent in the poll released July 4.

But Warren held at 18 percent in the poll, leaving her just three points off Biden's pace.

Elizabeth Warren speaks.
Getty Images | Chip Somodevilla
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren now appears to be Joe Biden's top challenger, according to a new poll.

"The takeaway overall is that Biden remains a frontrunner, but a weak one," wrote Vox polling analyst Andrew Prokop — who points out that Biden's hold on his lead may be even more tenuous than the poll's "top-line" numbers indicate.

The big winner in the Economist/YouGov poll, however, is Harris. The 54-year-old former California attorney general leaped six points to 13 percent, leaving her in third place, but pushing her past Sanders who, as The Inquisitr reported earlier this week, has seen serious declines across all polls and now finds his campaign, in the words of one polling expert, "in major, major trouble."

Sanders garners only 10 percent in the new Economist/YouGov, down from 15 in the pre-debate poll by the same research firm.

But as Vox notes, Biden's most serious challenger appears to be Harris, due to her significant gains among black voters. A Quinnipiac University poll earlier this week showed Harris's support among that voting bloc increase, which has been essential to winning the Democratic nomination for any candidate at least since John Kerry in 2004.

While Biden continues to lead among black voters, according to Quinnipiac, his lead over Harris has now slipped to four points with the key demographic, 31-27.