Poll: Kamala Harris sees steep drop in support following Detroit debate

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Democrat California Sen. Kamala Harris established herself among the top tier of 2020 presidential contenders following a strong showing in her party’s first primary debate in Miami, during which she repeatedly and apparently successfully attacked the frontrunning candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Harris appears to be in danger of slipping out of that top tier following the second debate in Detroit, however, as roles were reversed and she found herself the subject of concerted attacks on her character and record by multiple competitors, something that poll numbers have started to reflect.

Harris slides

A Politico-Morning Consult poll conducted after the debate found that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the overall winner of the second round, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Biden rounding out the top three as the best performers in the dual face-offs in Detroit.

The Democrat primary voters queried in the poll were largely unimpressed with Harris, though, with a top pollster suggesting voters were “underwhelmed” by her performance compared that of first debate.

Morning Consult Vice President Tyler Sinclair said in a statement, “Democratic primary voters were underwhelmed with Senator Kamala Harris’ debate performance last week as her poll bounce continues to fade.”

“Notably, 43% of Democratic primary voters said Harris performed ‘excellent’ at the June debates, compared to 20% who said the same about last week’s Detroit debates,” he added.

Second-tier candidate

That assessment from Sinclair was reflected in the RealClearPolitics average of polls on the 2020 candidates, which as of today ranks Harris in fourth place with 8.3% support among voters.

For the sake of comparison, Biden currently leads the field with 30.8% support, followed by Warren with 18.3% and Sanders with 16.5. Harris appears to have been relegated to a small second tier of candidates that includes only her and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who ranked fifth with 6.5% support.

An interactive chart provided by RCP shows that Harris did indeed receive a significant bounce in the aftermath of the first debates in Miami, jumping from fourth place with 7% support to second place with 15.2% support over the course of a few days in early July.

Unfortunately for Harris, her numbers began to slide back down in mid-July and then slipped once again following her dismal performance in Detroit.

Ominous signs

To be sure, it remains incredibly early in the 2020 primary season and quite a bit can change between now and the time votes are actually cast by Democrats in the state caucuses and primaries next year. As such, Harris’ campaign for her party’s nomination to do battle with President Donald Trump can’t be entirely written off just yet.

That said, if her Detroit debate outing is any indication of how Harris will perform in the future when faced with tough questions about her record, she may as well get used to her role in the Senate, as there is little chance she will win the nomination, much less defeat Trump in the general election.

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