The first debates is in the books, and after outstanding performances by Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, and less than fantastic performances from most of the rest of the field (save for Julian Castro), there’s been a shuffle in the polls, and I expect the momentum will continue going this way rather than snap back to pre-debate polling.
Here’s how the CNN/SRRS poll looks via The Washington Post:
Biden: 22 percent (-10)
Harris: 17 (+9)
Warren: 15 (+8)
Bernie Sanders: 14 (-4)
Pete Buttigieg: 4 (-1)
Cory Booker: 3 (same)
Beto O’Rourke: 3 (-2)
Amy Klobuchar: 2 (same)
Everyone else 1 percent or below
Warren’s rise in the polls was foretold in her slow and steady rise in the polls for early primary states (like Iowa and New Hampshire), while Kamala’s rise can basically be attributed to her debate performance, which was lights out. Biden obviously took the biggest hit, although he also had the farthest to fall. In fact, not to get ahead of myself, but Biden’s fall is starting to look like Rudy Giuliani’s in 2008: He was the frontrunner (based on name recognition) but he fell into oblivion after the race began in earnest.
The race for the Democratic nominee has begun in earnest. The debates better-clued voters into who Warren and Harris are, and more importantly, illustrated that they are “electable.” It’s hard to say how things will go from here, but I would suggest that, at the very least, Beto is cooked. Mayor Pete is hurting — his upward momentum is gone, but he’s done a very nice job this cycle of gaining some “brand recognition,” which will help make him not just a viable VP candidate but position him well for future races (he’s 37. He’s got all the time in the world). Biden should read the writing on the wall, save face and bail, but I suspect he’s in it at least until the fall. I think we all know that Bernie is in it until the bitter damn end, which may ultimately hurt Warren more than Harris.
It’s exciting, I think, to see the two best candidates (in my opinion, anyway) surge after great debate performances. I suspect, however, that we may not see a lot of movement between now and the next round of debates in September, but I also suspect that we’ll see at least a few people drop out between now and then.