Debates crucial for mid-tier 2020 candidates to 'crack through,' says pollster

Democratic pollster Molly Murphy said Friday that the debates will be crucial for mid-tier 2020 Democratic candidates looking to break apart from the crowded pack.

"I think by Labor Day, what we're looking at now could be a sort of more cemented ... ordering of these more mid-tier candidates," Murphy, a partner at ALG Research, told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons on "What America's Thinking." 

"Does someone sort of crack through and they're neck and neck in a three-way tie with Sanders, Biden, and whoever else it is," she continued. "I think that will largely hinge on debate performance, and just being able to chase and stay ahead of that momentum." 

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenUkrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' Warren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll The polls are asking the wrong question Sanders unveils plan to eliminate Americans' medical debt MORE (I-Vt.) have led most 2020 Democratic primary polls for months, with the other nineteen candidates trailing behind. 

While there is much speculation about what kind of dynamic will play out between Sanders and Biden, other candidates trailing them, such as Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll Warren avoids attacks while building momentum Sanders unveils plan to eliminate Americans' medical debt MORE (D-Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll Iowa GOP swipes at 2020 Democrats' meat positions as candidates attend annual Steak Fry Warren avoids attacks while building momentum MORE (D-Calif.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll The polls are asking the wrong question Booker aide sounds alarm about campaign's funding MORE (D) have made their own headlines. 

The candidates will publicly come face-to-face for the first time on the campaign trail on June 26 for NBC News's primary debate. 

— Julia Manchester