A CNN poll released yesterday shows that Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Elizabeth Warren are gaining traction among voters. Warren is up 8 percentage points since a previous poll in May, thanks in part to her command of the stage on night one. No surprise there—Warren was the only figure to rank in the top bracket of candidates on the stage that night.
The most noteworthy shift in lies in viewers’ response to Harris. An hour into the debate on night two, Google searches for her name swelled by 500 percent. She’s now seeing a 9 point boost. And viewer feedback showed that 30% of Democratic voters want to learn more about her.
That said, Harris has been criticized for her former position as a prosecutor. The California Senator will, inevitably, have to reckon with this fact, especially given that its implications for criminal justice sit uncomfortably beside assertions of Harris’ progressivism. But her performance during the debate has, for many, cast Harris in an overwhelmingly favorable light.
Meanwhile, Biden’s lead took a hit. He’s down 10 points, and in a series of exchanges with Harris on the second night of the debate, he appeared shaken. He was unable to provide robust responses to critiques of his historical opposition to school busing. And when Harris cited the former vice president’s recent comments sentimentalizing “civil” relationships with segregationists—his head lowered. At one point, he cut himself off, delivering a line that reads as a double-entendre: “My time’s up.”
If the democratic debate reminded us of anything, it’s that voters recognize prescience just as powerfully as they respond to call-outs.
Header photo courtesy of screen shot via CNN YouTube
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Jay Graham is a freelance writer from Seattle. Their work explores politics and pop culture with a focus on gender, queerness, music, and horror.