Poll: Biden leads 2020 Democrats while Warren surges

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Conservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' Democrat representing Pennsylvania district Trump carried plans to vote to impeach  MORE leads the pack of Democratic presidential candidates by double digits, but Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSaagar Enjeti says Buttigieg's release of McKinsey client list shows he 'caved to public pressure' On The Money: Lawmakers strike spending deal | US, China reach limited trade deal ahead of tariff deadline | Lighthizer fails to quell GOP angst over new NAFTA Bill Weld: As many as six GOP senators privately support convicting Trump MORE (D-Mass.) is narrowing the gap, according to a new survey by Quinnipiac University Poll released on Tuesday.

Warren’s support rose to 21 percent among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters, the survey says, a 5-point gain since late last month. That puts her comfortably in second place. 

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Biden, the primary contest’s front-runner, still leads the pack, notching 32 percent support in the latest Quinnipiac poll. But that’s a 2-point drop since the last survey, leaving a smaller gap between him and Warren. 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSaagar Enjeti says Buttigieg's release of McKinsey client list shows he 'caved to public pressure' Sanders endorses Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur for Katie Hill's former House seat Biden hires Clinton, O'Rourke alum as campaign's digital director MORE (I-Vt.) gained 3 points in the most recent survey, coming in third place with 14 percent support. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — House passes sweeping Pelosi bill to lower drug prices | Senate confirms Trump FDA pick | Trump officials approve Medicaid work requirements in South Carolina Sanders endorses Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur for Katie Hill's former House seat Kamala Harris dropped out, but let's keep her mental health plan alive MORE (D-Calif.), who peaked at 20 percent support in early July after a standout performance in the June Democratic debates, continued a downward trend in the poll, dipping to 7 percent. 

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegSaagar Enjeti says Buttigieg's release of McKinsey client list shows he 'caved to public pressure' Biden hires Clinton, O'Rourke alum as campaign's digital director Trump neck and neck with top 2020 Democrats in Wisconsin: poll MORE placed fifth in the survey with 5 percent support. 

The Quinnipiac poll comes less than a week after the second round of Democratic primary debates in Detroit. Those debates, which were split between two nights featuring 10 candidates each, saw simmering tensions in the party’s nominating contest explode into a full-blown clash of ideologies and personalities.

Warren is seen by a plurality of respondents — 28 percent — as the candidate with the best debate performance, suggesting that her overall standing in the poll was bolstered by a strong showing. Warren was also rated as the best debate performer in a separate Morning Consult/Politico survey, with those saying she was the best more than double the number who said the same of Biden, the second-place finisher.

Biden’s debate performance took second place in the Quinnipiac poll as well, with 15 percent of respondents choosing him as the best candidate on stage. In Quinnipiac’s last post-debate poll released on July 2, only 6 percent thought Biden had the best performance.

For Harris, the most recent Democratic debate wasn’t as successful as the first. Eight percent said that she appeared to be the best candidate on stage last week, significantly less than the 47 percent that saw her as the clear leader in the first debates in June.

Harris’s showing in the June debate was marked by an explosive confrontation with Biden over his past opposition to school busing. That clash injected a shot of momentum into her campaign and stirred speculation of a second confrontation with Biden in the July debate. 

But during last week's showdown, both Biden and Harris found themselves fending off criticism from lower-tier candidates.

At one point, Harris was forced to defend her record as a prosecutor after coming under fire from Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardDemocrats set early state primary debates for 2020 The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Gabbard news items generating more social interactions than other 2020 Democrats: study MORE (D-Hawaii). Some 3 percent of respondents in the Quinnipiac poll said that Gabbard had the best showing in the most recent debate.

Also coming in at 8 percent was Sanders, who saw a 3-point bump over his first debate performance, according to the survey.

Reviews of Buttigieg’s on-stage performances changed little between the first and second debates, with the number pegging him the winner rising from 3 percent to 5 percent.

The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 807 Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters from Aug. 1-5. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.