Warren Sees Post-Debate Bump, Gains on Sanders for No. 2

From left, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. raise their hands to answer a question Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by ABC at Texas Southern University in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

(CN) – Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts continues to gain steam in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, the only candidate from last week’s debate to see a measurable uptick in her performance according to poll numbers out Monday.

The Morning Consult poll has Warren nipping at the heels of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has consistently been in second behind front-runner Joe Biden, and Sanders’s grip appears to be loosening as Warren gains steam. Warren received 18% of the public’s support in the poll, while Sanders came in at 20%.

Warren was at or below a 10% share of Democratic primary voters’ support from January through the summer, when she began her steady rise.

A March poll found that just 7% of likely voters said they would vote for Warren, putting her squarely behind not only Biden and Sanders, but also former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Senator Kamala Harris of California.

Support for Harris currently sits at 6% according to the latest poll, a distant fourth. O’Rourke has come back a bit after floundering during the summer but still only registered 4%.

South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg sits just in front of O’Rourke for fifth place with 5%. No other candidate in the expansive candidate field is above 3%.

All the shuffling and jockeying for position in the lower ranks of the Democratic field can easily distract from the fact that Biden remains the front-runner by a significant margin, despite gaffes and the attendant negative press coverage.

Biden received 32% support from those polled, 8 points off from his best performance in the Morning Consult poll in May when he earned 40%. But he is also slightly up from his low of 29% in February.

Biden’s strength was further evident in the Hill-Harris X poll released Monday, which showed 20% of those responding thought Biden won the debate.

Comparatively, 12% of respondents said Warren won the debate, while 9% gave the laurels to Sanders.

Perhaps indicative of the indecision still hanging over the process at this relatively early stage, more people said they were unable to declare a winner (33%) then went for any specific candidate.

The debate marked the first time this cycle that all Democratic candidates were contained on a single stage and with only one night of debates. Many pundits believed the format would yield a better idea of who would emerge as the favorite to win the nomination, but perhaps more remarkable is how little has changed.

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