Released on Friday morning, August 14, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by 11% — which, for Biden, was an improvement over an NPR/PBS/Marist poll from June that found him ahead by 8%. The new poll, however, was conducted largely before Biden's Tuesday, August 11 announcement that he had chosen Sen. Kamala Harris of California as his running mate. And an Axios/SurveyMonkey poll conducted after Biden's announcement offers some insights on how U.S. voters are responding to his choice.
Axios' Margaret Talev reports, "Kamala Harris is accomplishing what Joe Biden's campaign hoped she would in her first two days as his running mate: doing no harm, while exciting parts of the base with whom Biden needs the most help." And according to Jon Cohen, chief survey officer for SurveyMonkey, "The initial, modestly positive take on Harris is sure to encourage Democrats."
The poll, conducted August 11-12, asked: "Are you more or less likely to consider voting for Biden with Kamala Harris as his running mate?" And among "all Americans," 56% responded that it made "no difference" — while 22% said that it made them "more likely" to vote for Biden and 19% said that it made them "less likely" to vote for the former vice president.
Axios/SurveyMonkey broke the poll down by specific demographics, from "white men and women" to "black women." Among black women — a crucial part of the Democratic base — 48% said that it made "no difference," while 43% said that it made them "more likely" to vote for Biden and only 7% said that it made them "less likely" to vote for him.
The poll found that 59% of "white men and women" said that Biden's Harris pick made "no difference," while 23% said that it made them "less likely" to vote for Biden and 16% said that it made them "more likely" to vote for him.
Axios/SurveyMonkey divided Democrats into "moderate/conservative" and "liberal/very liberal" categories, and both were generally supportive of having Harris on the Democratic presidential ticket: 48% of "moderate/conservative" Democrats said that it made "no difference," while 47% said they would be "more likely" to vote for Biden because of Harris and only 5% said they would be "less likely" to. And 56% of "liberal" or "very liberal" Democrats said it made "no difference," while 40% went with "more likely" and only 4% went with "less likely."
So, in other words, picking Harris as his running mate doesn't appear to be hurting Biden with either the centrist Barack Obama/Bill Clinton/Kyrsten Sinema wing of the Democratic Party or the progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez/Pramila Jayapal wing of the Democratic Party.
Talev notes, however, "One area of relative weakness for Harris appears to be younger voters, who are effectively split over whether she makes them more or less likely to vote for Biden — though around six in 10 say it makes no difference."