Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren earned the highest marks among voters who watched last week’s Democratic presidential primary debates, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.
More voters gave Harris and Warren — two of the six women among the field of 20 debaters — “excellent” marks than any of the other candidates, the poll shows. More than one-in-four debate-watchers, 27 percent, say Harris did an “excellent” job, while 23 percent say Warren did an “excellent” job.
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The two women are the only two candidates for whom more than 20 percent say they did an excellent job. The two men who entered the debate as the polling frontrunners, former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, were both rated as “excellent” by 16 percent of debate-watchers. But 23 percent of viewers say Biden did a “poor” job, higher than the shares of viewers who say Harris (16 percent), Warren (19 percent) and Sanders (20 percent) did a poor job.
Only three other candidates reached a double-digit “excellent” rating: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (15 percent), former HUD Secretary Julián Castro (12 percent) and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (11 percent). Of the remaining 13 candidates, none earned an “excellent” rating of greater than 5 percent, including former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (5 percent).
The poll results are consistent with limited horse-race polling conducted after the debate that shows Harris surging into the top tier of candidates, while Biden has slipped. But with more than four weeks to go until the second debate, it’s not yet clear whether the debates will produce durable change in the state of the race — or if any impacts will be fleeting.
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll also included a facial-recognition test of the 20 debaters, conducted in a survey before the debate, and then again in the new poll. Self-help author Marianne Williamson had the greatest gain in recognition, the poll shows, though nearly a third of debate-watchers, 31 percent, say she did a “poor” job on the stage.
The poll was conducted June 29-July 1, surveying 1,472 registered voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Morning Consult is a nonpartisan media and technology company that provides data-driven research and insights on politics, policy and business strategy.