You realize what this means, don’t you?
For the first time in recorded history, the conventional wisdom on Twitter was … correct. Harris really did vault herself into the top tier with two impressive hours on TV. And Uncle Joe really did shoot himself in the foot with two bad ones.
There are no longer any certainties in political life in Trump era, including the certainty that the online chatterati is always, always wrong.
Harris crushed the debates, with 41 percent saying she did the best job (Warren was second at 13 percent). She’s also now the candidate whom voters are most likely to want to hear more about. “Harris and Biden are now about even in support among self-identified Democrats, white voters, younger voters, nonwhite women and those who tuned in to watch the debates,” notes CNN, adding that “She outpaces him significantly among liberals and whites with college degrees.” The one bright spot for Uncle Joe? Ironically, it’s black voters:
I’m not sure that counts as a bright spot, actually. Thirty-six percent is worse than he tends to do with African-Americans in polling, and Harris is already in striking distance among the group after just one debate. How many of those black Biden supporters are still hanging around in the expectation that her performance last week was a fluke, ready to be convinced and jump ship for Team Kamala if she beats up Biden again at the second debate? The suspicion about Uncle Joe’s support has always been that it’s soft, based largely on name recognition. Now here’s a poll suggesting that that suspicion was correct.
Biden fans can console themselves with the fact that he’s still seen as the candidate with the best chance to beat Trump by a wide (30-point) margin. That’s no small thing when Dems are spoiling to find someone, anyone, who can end the Trump era for them. It’s also true that there have been several other post-debate polls and all of them have been better for Biden than this one. He did no worse than 28 percent in those and enjoyed double-digit leads in every one. If CNN’s data is right then the race has been upended and Biden’s at dire risk of entering the second debate in second or even third place. If the other polls are right, Biden’s still comfortably the frontrunner. Just not nearly as comfortably as before, and probably one more bad debate away from real trouble. If he doesn’t ace the next one, lord only knows how many rich donors will decide they no longer want to keep pumping money into his campaign tires to keep them inflated.
One more data point from the CNN crosstabs, just because:
Fifty-six percent think it should be the government’s job to provide a national health insurance program for Americans, a significant number for Dems. But just 37 percent of that number wants private insurance flushed down the toilet, which means a mere 21 percent of all Americans are for a true Bernie-style Medicare for All plan.
Of course, if we pass on MFA for now and institute a public option instead, that public option will eventually undercut private insurance to the point that true MFA will become viable. Which means all we’re really debating given these numbers is whether to torch America’s private industry in a big bonfire up front or to wait until it’s creaky and starting to collapse on its own.
Exit question: What happened to Pete Buttigieg? He’s at zero percent among black voters and just four percent among Dems generally. That’s a not a fluke result either. All of the post-debate polls have Buttigieg between four and six percent overall. Not quite top tier anymore, assuming he ever was.