The most recent Quinnipiac poll (post-debate) shows that California Senator Kamala Harris is the best positioned to move up by picking up the support now going to Biden.
A big part of Harris’ advantage comes from the fact that while there a decided leftist skew to Sanders’ and Warren’s vote — and a moderate/conservative skew to Biden’s — Harris draws equally from the left and the right.
Biden draws 13% of the vote among very liberal Democrats, 19% among somewhat liberal and leads the pack, with 30% among moderates and conservatives.
Sanders and Warren, in contrast, both skew left. In a mirror image of Biden’s vote, Bernie gets 21% of very liberals, 13% among somewhat liberals and only 8% among moderate or conservative Democrats. Similarly, Elizabeth Warren also gets most of her vote on the left winning 22% of the very liberals, 11% of the somewhat liberals, and only 8% from moderate or conservatives.
However, Harris draws evenly from all ideological segments. She gets 21% of very liberals, 22% among somewhat liberals, and 18% among moderates and conservatives.
The implications make Harris’ advantage clear:
1. Biden’s vote is the least secure. Most of his support comes from voters who are only marginally Democrat — less likely to vote and more likely to shift their preference.
2. Harris is more likely to attract disaffected Biden voters since she is as popular among those who share the former vice president’s ideology as those who are more liberal. So, it’s a lot easier for moderates and conservatives to switch to Harris than to leftists like Sanders or Warren. As Biden fades, Harris is the most likely to benefit.
3. While Harris has moderates and somewhat liberals almost to herself — after Biden fades — Warren faces brutal competition from Sanders — as well as Harris — among more liberal voters.
4. A post-debate Reuters poll shows Biden losing half of his African American vote share after his pathetic defense of his opposition to school busing. Before the debate, Biden was getting 40% of the black vote. After, he was down to 20%. The aura that surrounded Biden due to his close association with Obama is dissipating due to his past embrace of segregationist senators.
These demographics lead to the conclusion that Kamala Harris, having put herself on the map with a strong debate performance is going to be the most likely beneficiary of Biden’s downfall.
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