Biden holds two-to-one lead over Sanders in post-debate poll

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Supreme Court and blind partisanship ended the illusion of independent agencies Missed debt ceiling deadline kicks off high-stakes fight Senate infrastructure talks spill over into rare Sunday session MORE has a 2-to-1 lead nationally over the next closest Democratic presidential contender after the second round of debates, according to the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll.

The new survey finds Biden with 34 percent support among Democrats, followed by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet Angst grips America's most liberal city Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire MORE (I-Vt.) at 17 percent.

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Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - CDC equates Delta to chickenpox in contagiousness Harris's bad polls trigger Democratic worries Why in the world are White House reporters being told to mask up again? MORE (D-Calif.) is in third place with 9 percent support, followed by Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenCalifornia Democrats warn of low turnout in recall election Pelosi disputes Biden's power to forgive student loans Warren hits the airwaves for Newsom ahead of recall election MORE (D-Mass.) at 8 percent, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegSunday shows preview: Delta concerns prompt CDC mask update; bipartisan infrastructure bill to face challenges in Senate Chasten Buttigieg: DC 'almost unaffordable' JD Vance takes aim at culture wars, childless politicians MORE at 4 percent, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke at 3 percent and Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerWomen urge tech giants to innovate on office return Human rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines MORE (D-N.J.) at 2 percent.

“Biden has been steady despite some rocky performances at the debates,” said Mark PennMark PennPoll: Voters expect lawmakers to approve infrastructure package this summer Majority of voters say Biden should implement stricter immigration policies: poll Poll: Concern about inflation rises as economy recovers from pandemic MORE, co-director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll. “The Democratic voters are far more in sync with Biden’s views than any of the other candidates running. He maintains his front-runner status.”

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll of 585 registered Democratic voters was conducted between July 31 and Aug. 1. The first night of this week's Democratic debates took place on July 30 and the second night was July 31, so some of the respondents may not have viewed the second night of debate, when Biden appeared.

Biden’s lead is down some from the previous survey conducted in late May, before the Democratic debates. At the time, the poll showed Biden holding a 30-point lead over Sanders and registering 44 percent support among Democrats.

But the former vice president remains in a strong position, with 46 percent of Democrats viewing him as having the best chance to defeat President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE. Fifteen percent of Democrats said Sanders has the best shot at knocking off Trump, followed by Warren at 7 percent and Harris at 6 percent.

A plurality of Democrats, 47 percent, said they want to nominate a candidate with the strongest chance of winning. Only 12 percent said their first preference is a candidate who shares their positions, while 36 percent said they value both traits equally.

Biden also leads when voters are asked to name the top three candidates that best share their values, with 46 percent saying Biden, followed by Sanders at 34 percent, Warren at 27 and Harris at 24.

Health care is by far the top issue for Democratic voters, with 45 percent calling it their top priority, followed by immigration at 29 percent and jobs and the economy at 20 percent.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll throughout 2019.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.