Former Vice President Joe Biden has bounced back from his poor performance at the first Democratic debate in early July, according to the results of a new poll released on the eve before Democrats vying to challenge President Donald Trump are set to face off in Detroit for a second round of debates.
The new survey, conducted by Quinnipiac University, finds that Biden is the first choice of roughly more than one-third of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independent voters who plan to cast a ballot in the Democratic primary. Thirty-four of respondents name the former vice president as their top pick to run against Trump in 2020.
Biden's surge in support gives him, at least according to the poll, a double-digit lead over his next-closest rival: Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who is at 15 percent. Sen. Kamala Harris of California is in third with 12 percent, followed closely by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont at 11 percent. Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. places fifth, polling at 6 percent.
All other candidates in the crowded field featuring nearly two dozen Democrats are polling at 2 percent or less. In addition, the difference between Warren, Sanders and Harris is within the poll's margin of error.
The latest poll reveals Biden has gained support since the last Quinnipiac poll, which was conducted July 2. It also shows that Harris has dropped 8 percent in support since the previous survey, which showed her surge into a virtual tie with Biden following her much lauded performance at the first Democratic primary debate. Immediately after the debate, the Quinnipiac University showed Biden at 22 percent and Harris at 20 percent.
The latest poll finds a significant increase in support for Biden and a substantial drop for Harris. With no boost from the debates, Sanders also dropped 8 points since June. Warren, meanwhile, has maintained her 15 percent support. She has hovered between 12 percent and 15 percent support since April.
"In the blink of an eye, the post-debate surge for Sen. Kamala Harris fades and former Vice President Joseph Biden regains his footing among Democratic presidential contenders," said Mary Snow, polling analyst for the Quinnipiac University Poll. "Electability remains his strongest pull. Across the board, Biden remains by far the Democrat seen as having the best chance of defeating President Trump."
"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 has having the best policy ideas," Snow added.
Twenty Democratic candidates will face off again in two debates this week, half on Tuesday and the remaining half on Wednesday. The match-ups are likely to again shake the Democratic primary field. Sanders and Warren will take the stage together on the first night, while Biden and Harris will face off again at Wednesday’s event.
The Quinnipiac University survey was conducted between July 25 and July 28 among 1,306 voters nationwide. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. The poll also included 579 Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 5.1 percentage points, including the design effect.