Kamala Harris was being described by some pundits as the Democratic front-runner before she even formally announced her candidacy. By early July, she seemed poised to challenge the polling leader, Joe Biden, who she had sharply criticized in the first Democratic debate. Harris stood at 15 percent in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, narrowly ahead of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Everything was coming up peaches.
Welcome to FiveThirtyEight’s weekly politics chat. The transcript below has been lightly edited.
We’re a week away from the fourth Democratic primary debate on Oct. 15, and the stage is now set with 12 candidates. But our eyes are already turned toward the fifth debate, where things are starting to get a little crowded with seven candidates now qualified. Over the weekend, both Sen. Cory Booker and billionaire activist Tom Steyer earned the last qualifying poll they needed for November’s event, with Steyer making the cut despite having not even appeared in a single debate yet!
Former Vice President Joe Biden is still getting the lion’s share of media coverage relative to other candidates, according to data from the TV News Archive,1 which splits cable news coverage across the three networks we monitor — CNN, Fox News and MSNBC — into 15-second clips, and Media Cloud,2 a database of online news stories. Biden’s share of cable news clips and online news stories decreased from last week, but he was still mentioned more on cable news than every other candidate combined.
Welcome to Pollapalooza, our weekly polling roundup.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren has come a long way in the polls since the early days of her 2020 presidential campaign. Back in April, she was polling in the mid single digits nationally, but she now leads a number of national and early-state polls. And based on polls from September and August, Warren has expanded her support in a few overlapping directions — making inroads with groups and categories of voters she was previously struggling with. The result is that she is now positioned as the leading alternative to former Vice President Joe Biden. Here’s a look at where Warren has made inroads, so far: