Elizabeth Warren had another very good debate, poll finds

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren racked up a second well-received Democratic presidential debate performance last week, a set of new HuffPost/YouGov surveys finds.

Half of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters who saw at least clips of her during the debate said they came away with an improved view of Warren. Fewer than a third said the same about any of her opponents, including both the candidates she faced last Tuesday and those who debated the following night. Only 6% of the voters said their opinions of Warren worsened.

“She’s clear and concise in her answers, and she had answers for any questions posted to her,” wrote one Texas woman who watched the debate. “She showed she’s a fighter, and wants to fight more for the rights of the American people by taking ... power away from big business. Although I don’t totally agree with her and Bernie’s [‘Medicare for All’] plan, at this point I like what she’s saying and what she wants to do!”

(See full polling results for the first night here and those for the second night here.)

Warren’s net score for the debate ― the share of voters who said their view of her improved, minus the share who said their view worsened ― outstrips that of her nearest rival by 20 percentage points. But across the second set of debates, five other candidates also saw positive net scores in the double digits: South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker; former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro; businessman Andrew Yang; and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Here’s what some supporters found laudable about their performances:

Buttigieg: “He is best able to give consistently thoughtful and cogent answers. He always seems prepared and genuine.”

Booker: “He explained his positions well, focused on the issues, didn’t trash his fellow candidates, but also didn’t shy away from questions, and didn’t let the moderators back him into a corner or make him take ‘Republican talking points’ bait.”

Castro:He was able to present his ideas very well. He explained a couple of times things he did at HUD. He is very strong on immigration. I like his idea of helping Central America improve so people won’t feel it necessary to flee to America.”

Yang:He is more focused on lower and middle class america and how to get money back in the hands of these citizens instead. The others seem more interested in fighting and bickering and shaming Donald Trump.”

Sanders: “Beyond my agreement with his policies (and his success in relaying them), his effectiveness as a speaker has improved a lot since the 2016 election cycle, and he fielded questions head-on and in detail when other candidates seemed to use vagueness and platitudes to their advantage.”

Other high-profile candidates garnered less broadly enthusiastic reactions. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s performance was essentially a wash, with voters who watched about equally likely to say that it had worsened their opinion of him as that it had improved it. California Sen. Kamala Harris, a breakout star of the first set of debates, this time saw her negatives slightly outweigh her positives.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, who pushed back against the party’s progressives during the first night of the second debates, were among those who received the weakest ratings. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has often polled near the bottom of the field on favorability, also saw relatively poor numbers. And despite a flurry of punditry around wellness guru Marianne Williamson’s performance, actual voters were notably less avid.

What this polling doesn’t indicate is whether Warren’s debate performance will actively strengthen her standing in the Democratic primary, either immediately or in the longer term. The standard provisos about debate polling we outlined following the first debate remain relevant here: Voters’ preexisting opinions of the candidates help to shape their reactions; opinions remain fluid; and, of course, impressing voters in a debate doesn’t necessarily translate into gaining even temporary ground in the horse race. 

Those caveats were exemplified by the arc of the horse race polling following the first debates, when Harris saw an immediate bounce and Biden, her prime target, sagged. Both trends subsided within weeks, leaving Biden as far ahead of the pack as he’d started this summer and Harris polling only a few points ahead of where she’d stood previously. (Warren’s rise to her current standing in the polls ― she’s generally in the teens, nationally ― seems to have in large part predated her well-regarded first debate performance.)

22 PHOTOS
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
See Gallery
Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., attends a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled 'Foreign Cyber Threats to the United States,' featuring testimony by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and others, January 5, 2016.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Armed Services Committee members (L-R) Sen. Martin Heinrich (D - NM), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) talk during a hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 5, 2017 in Washington, DC. The intelligence chiefs testified to the committee about cyber threats to the United States and fielded questions about effects of Russian government hacking on the 2016 presidential election.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) (L) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) arrive for a hearing with the Director of National Intelligence and National Security Agency chief in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 5, 2017 in Washington, DC. The intelligence chiefs testified to the committee about cyber threats to the United States and fielded questions about effects of Russian government hacking on the 2016 presidential election.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Democratic Nominee for President of the United States former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), speaks to and meets New England voters during a rally at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire on Monday October 24, 2016.

(Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Mark Wahlberg, Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, Boston Police Commissioner Billy Evans, Former Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz, Dun 'Danny' Meng, Jessica Downes, Patrick Downes, Senator Elizabeth Warren, director Peter Berg and Harvard Law professor Bruce Mann pose on the red carpet at the 'Patriots Day' screening at the Boch Center Wang Theatre on December 14, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.

(Photo by Natasha Moustache/WireImage)

Democratic Nominee for President of the United States former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), speaks to and meets New England voters during a rally at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire on Monday October 24, 2016.

(Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Former Red Sox player David Ortiz talks with Senator Elizabeth Warren at the 'Patriots Day' screening at the Boch Center Wang Theatre on December 14, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.

(Photo by Natasha Moustache/WireImage)

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Senator Elizabeth Warren hold a rally at St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH on Oct. 24, 2016.

(Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks at a Manchester 'New Hampshire Together' Canvass Launch event in Manchester, NH on Sept. 24, 2016.

(Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren speaks onstage at EMILY's List Breaking Through 2016 at the Democratic National Convention at Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

(Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images For EMILY's List)

US Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, holds up copies of Wells Fargo earnings call transcripts as she questions John Stumpf, chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo, as he testifies about the unauthorized opening of accounts by Wells Fargo during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 20, 2016.

(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) along with members of the Democratic Women of the Senate acknowledge the crowd on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25.

(Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) delivers remarks on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III welcomes Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on stage on Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 25, 2016.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accompanied by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to and meets Ohio voters during a rally at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal in Cincinnati, Ohio on Monday, June 27, 2016.

(Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airing live, Thursday July 21, 2016 in New York. With guest Elizabeth Warren .

(Photo by Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) arrives in the Capitol for the on Tuesday, June 28, 2016.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) (R) meets with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland (L), chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court, April 14, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Garland continued to place visits to Senate members after he was nominated by President Barack Obama to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, listens as Janet Yellen, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, testifies during a Senate Banking Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. Yellen offered a subtle change to her outlook from less than a week ago, saying she and her colleagues were on watch for whether, rather than when, the U.S. economy would show clear signs of improvement.

(Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., greets guests during a rally on the east lawn of the Capitol to urge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to hold a vote on the 'Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act,' March 9, 2016. The legislation would provide a one time payment to seniors, veterans and other SSI recipients who will not get a cost-of-living adjustment this year.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators Bob Corker (L) and Elizabeth Warren (R) speak before a Senate Banking Committee on the semiannual monetary report to Congress hearing in Washington, USA on February 11, 2016.

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), talks with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) in the House chamber prior to President Obama's State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 12, 2013.

(REUTERS/Charles Dharapak/Pool)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Biden’s lead in perceived electability, which had narrowed, has also partially recovered, according to the HuffPost/YouGov poll taken following the second set of debates. Some 65% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters said they think he can beat Trump in the general election, up from 57% following the first set of debates. Other candidates’ ratings have seen less change in that time. About half of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters currently believe Warren and Harris can win, with 44% saying the same of Sanders, 29% of Buttigieg, 23% of Booker and 20% of Castro. No other candidates reach the 20% mark.

There’s still plenty of primary campaigning left to happen, including a third round of debates in September for those candidates who qualify through fundraising and polls. Although voters are increasingly beginning to make up their minds, the real front-runner of the Democratic primary is still probably “undecided.” Only about half of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters now say they have even a “good idea” of whom they’ll vote for, although that’s up from 38% after the first debates in June. 

The HuffPost/YouGov polls, each consisting of 1,000 completed interviews, were conducted Aug. 1-2 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some but not all potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.