Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren have made big gains with voters, while former Vice President Joe Biden has seen his once large lead in national polling shrink in the aftermath of last week’s 2020 Democratic debate, according to a new CNN poll published Monday.
Biden is still ahead with 22% of registered voters who are Democrats or Democratic-leaning backing him. But the poll marked a 10-percentage point decline in support for the former vice president from when CNN polled in May.
Harris now holds 17% of support nationally, a nine percentage points increase in the poll after having the biggest moment of the two-night debate with a tough exchange with Biden about race.
She questioned Biden’s past opposition to federally-mandated busing to integrate schools and criticized him for recently raising the names of two avowed segregationist senators during a fundraiser as he tried to make a point about lost civility in Washington.
Warren, who was the only top 5 contender to appear on the first night of the debates, stands at 15%. She gained eight percentage points in the latest poll.
Sanders, who appeared on the same stage as Biden and Harris, saw his support slip to 14%, a four-percentage point slide since CNN’s May poll, in which he was in second place.
No other candidate in the field of two dozen received more than 5% of voter support, according to the poll.
Who did best at the debate?
Among those who say they watched all or most of at least one night of the debates, 46% said Harris did the best job, 19% Warren, 8% Biden and 5% each named South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.
It’s only one poll, but the findings suggest a significant tightening of the race.
Biden, who spent two terms as former President Obama’s vice president and 36 years in the Senate, has held double-digit leads in nearly every national poll since the he entered the race a little more than two months ago.
Less than 24 hours after his rocky debate performance, Biden downplayed comments he made on debate stage defending his opposition to federally-mandated busing, a position he's held dating back to his time in the Senate in 1970s.
"We all know that 30 to 60 seconds on a campaign debate exchange can't do justice to a lifetime committed to civil rights," Biden said in a speech to the Rainbow Push Coalition International Convention on Friday. "I want to be absolutely clear on my record and history on racial justice, including busing. I never, never, never ever opposed voluntary busing."
Respondednts to the CNN po were surveyed Friday through Sunday, and the poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.7%.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: New poll: Joe Biden slides, while Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren surge after debates