Biden surges and Harris slumps in pre-debate poll

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., , center, gestures towards former vice president Joe Biden, as Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., talks, during the Democratic primary June 27, 2019, in Miami. (Wilfredo Lee/AP photo via Courthouse News)

(CN) – Former Vice President Joe Biden solidified his lead of the pack of Democratic presidential candidates, regaining ground lost after a widely panned performance in the first debate according to a Quinnipiac poll published Monday.

Biden’s lead slipped to just 22 percent according to a July 2 poll, right after the first round of debates on June 26-27. Senator Kamala Harris, D-Calif., trailed closely behind at 20 percent during that same time period.

Since then, Biden reclaimed lost points from other candidates particularly from Senator Harris, who fell eight points to 12 percent in the latest survey. Biden now sits at 34 percent.

Biden and Harris will face each other once again Wednesday in Detroit for night two of the second Democratic debate. Harris sharply criticized Biden’s stance on busing during school integration in the 1970s during the first debate.

Though Biden is widely considered the “electable” candidate, including 51 percent of respondents who thought Biden has the best chance of beating President Donald Trump in the general election, Harris has used Biden’s political stances and past record to position herself to his left within the ideological spectrum among the Democratic candidates, particularly during the previous debate.

Senators Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., were the only other candidates who polled above 10 percent, and their respective poll numbers have been more stable since the last Quinnipiac poll. Warren polled at 15 percent in the latest survey, up 1 percent since July 2, and Sanders’ favorability fell two points to 11 percent since the last poll.

Since March, general poll trends from Quinnipiac have indicated Biden and Sanders as the front-runners, but both candidates have seen fluctuation between each survey.

Harris and former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas had inverse polling trends. Senator Harris saw a large boost in support after the first debate, but O’Rourke dropped from 12 percent in March to just 5 percent in April and sits at 2 percent in the latest poll.

In contrast, Warren has trended upward in the polls. She polled in at just 4 percent in March but jumped to 12 percent in April. Although she saw a slight dip in July, Warren has since recouped and has taken the No. 2 spot among front-runners.

“While Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris have been riding a seesaw of support, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is holding steady in the support she’s seeing from Democrats and Democratic leaners and she remains the candidate seen as having the best policy ideas,” Quinnipiac University polling analyst Mary Snow noted in the survey analysis.

After Warren announced a series of detailed policy proposals, including plans for student debt relief, an “ultra-millionaire tax” and a health care overhaul, “Warren has a plan for that” made the rounds as a meme online, leaving the public with an impression of Warren’s preparedness.

Warren and Sanders, who trailed 4 points behind Warren in the latest poll, will share the stage for the first time in a debate on Tuesday.

The pair share progressive credentials and many of the same policy stances, including a commitment to expanded government intervention in the health care industry and raising taxes on the wealthy.