Andrew Yang Jumps To Fourth In Favorability Following Debate, Says Poll

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang gives a thumbs up during the Democratic presidential primary debate at Loyola Marymount University on December 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

A new Morning Consult poll reveals that Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has jumped into fourth place in favorability rankings amongst all the candidates in the primary after the sixth Democratic debate, overtaking South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg. The 44-year-old serial entrepreneur’s net favorability increased by seven points, from 27 to 34, which is the highest of all the candidates. Tied for second in gains in net favorability are Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and businessman Tom Steyer.

Before the recent poll and sixth debate, Newsweek reported that Yang was three points behind Buttigieg. It appears that Yang’s strong and well-received debate performance has given him a boost, although he remains behind Buttigieg in the polls. Joe Biden remains in first place with 31 percent support, Bernie Sanders in second with 21 percent, and Elizabeth Warren in third with 15 percent. Buttigieg is in fourth with nine percent support, Michael Bloomberg in fifth with six percent, and Yang in sixth with five percent.

Regardless, Yang’s rise from a political nobody to his current standing has continued to impress. Although still considered a long-shot to win the nomination, his strong debate performance appears to have generated more interest in his campaign. It has also pushed many to purchase his book, The War on Normal People, which he plugged during the last debate question.

Yang’s surge comes after a long campaign that has been driven by grassroots support. The movement received its first big push from the businessman’s appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience and — while it’s still unclear if and how his current momentum will translate into increased polling support — David Von Drehle suggested in an op-ed in The Washington Post that it will hinge on Yang’s base.

“There comes a moment in every long-shot presidential campaign when the only remaining roadblock is disbelief. Victory is impossible because people tell themselves it’s impossible,” Drehle wrote, suggesting that if this “barrier” is removed, such a long-shot candidate “is transformed overnight into a force.”

“It’s purely a matter of getting that first group of voters to take the leap.”

Getting on the next debate stage could also be defining for Yang. The DNC has increased the threshold needed to qualify for the January debate. According to a spreadsheet by Politico’s Zach Montellaro, Yang needs five percent or higher in three more DNC-approved polls to take the stage. He can also gain seven percent or higher in two early state polls to qualify.

With the lack of polls during the holiday season, it appears that Yang might be cutting it close, although he qualified for the December debate just two and a half days before the deadline. His campaign also raised $750,000 in 24 hours and has been known to cut fundraising goals close as well.