Poll: Harris surges to second place in Iowa after debate

 
The survey, conducted for USA Today by Suffolk University, shows former Vice President Joe BidenJoe Biden'Where's your spoon?' What we didn't learn in the latest debate Sanders nabs endorsement from Congressional Hispanic Caucus member Poll: Sanders holds 7-point lead in crucial California primary MORE leading the Democratic field with 24 percent support among likely Iowa caucusgoers. Harris is in second place at 16 percent.
 
She leads third-place contender Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren declines to disavow super PAC that supports her San Diego Union-Tribune endorses Buttigieg 'Where's your spoon?' What we didn't learn in the latest debate MORE (D-Mass.), who clocks in at 13 percent, while Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersNevada Democratic debate draws record-breaking 19.7 million viewers 'Where's your spoon?' What we didn't learn in the latest debate Ocasio-Cortez defends Warren against 'misogynist trope' MORE (I-Vt.) finished fourth, at 9 percent. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegChasten Buttigieg: 'I've been dealing with the likes of Rush Limbaugh my entire life' San Diego Union-Tribune endorses Buttigieg 'Where's your spoon?' What we didn't learn in the latest debate MORE (D) took 6 percent.
 
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Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharWarren declines to disavow super PAC that supports her San Diego Union-Tribune endorses Buttigieg 'Where's your spoon?' What we didn't learn in the latest debate MORE (D-Minn.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe CNN signs Andrew Yang as contributor Bloomberg qualifies for South Carolina primary debate MORE (D-N.J.) each took 2 percent of the vote. Former Reps. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) and John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyLobbying world The Hill's Campaign Report: Four-way sprint to Iowa finish line John Delaney drops out of presidential race, Krystal and Saagar react MORE (D-Md.), Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardBloomberg, Sanders, Biden beat Trump in head-to-heads in North Carolina: poll Sanders takes lead in new Hill/HarrisX poll The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg to face off with rivals at Nevada debate MORE (D-Hawaii), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and businessman Andrew YangAndrew YangThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Roger Stone gets over three years in prison; Brutal night for Bloomberg Analysis: Democratic presidential campaigns score high on cybersecurity The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg in the spotlight for Nevada debate MORE each took 1 percent.
 
Harris’s popularity is all the more impressive when voters make a second selection. She is the secondary choice among 17 percent of voters, compared with 16 percent who say Warren is their No. 2.
 
When combined, 35 percent of voters say Biden is their first or second choice, with 34 percent saying the same about Harris.
 
The race remains highly fluid. Just 24 percent of voters said their minds are firmly made up. Sixty percent of Iowa Democrats said they might change their minds, while 16 percent said they are undecided.
 
About half of Iowa voters said they watched both nights of the opening round of Democratic debates last week, and half of those voters said Harris did better than expected. Castro also caught the attention of Iowa residents — more than a quarter said he exceeded their expectations, after he clashed with O’Rourke over immigration policies.
 
“I thought Kamala Harris was wonderful, and I want to know more about her,” Linda Gomez, a retiree in Ogden, Iowa, told The Hill at a local Democratic Party fundraiser last weekend. Gomez said she still prefers Biden.
 
Forty-one percent of Iowa voters said Biden fell short of their expectations in the debate, after he endured withering criticisms from Harris and other candidates over his past opposition to busing and his age among a younger and more diverse field. Just 8 percent said Biden, 76, exceeded their expectations.
 
“Biden disappointed me. His ideas are old, his manners are old,” Cassie Wherry, who manages a bookstore in Grinnell, told The Hill last week after the second debate.
 
Nearly a quarter of voters, 23 percent, said Sanders fell short of their expectations.
 
The poll, conducted Friday through Monday after last week’s debates, surveyed 500 likely Iowa Democratic caucusgoers and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
 
Iowa Democrats are still more likely to say they value electability over a candidate who fits their personal ideology. Sixty percent of Iowa voters said it was more important to nominate a candidate who could beat Trump, while 34 percent said they wanted a candidate who best reflects their values.
 
Democratic voters were most likely to say that it was important to them that the party nominate a candidate who supports raising taxes on the wealthy. About 64 percent of Democrats said hiking taxes on the highest earners was very important to them, compared with 57 percent who said it was very important that the nominee backs "Medicare for All" and 41 percent who said impeaching President TrumpDonald John TrumpChasten Buttigieg: 'I've been dealing with the likes of Rush Limbaugh my entire life' Lawmakers paint different pictures of Trump's 'opportunity zone' program We must not turn our heads from the effects of traumatic brain injuries MORE was very important.
 
About three-quarters of Democratic voters said it was very or somewhat important that the party nominate a candidate who backs the Green New Deal.