After the sixth and final Democratic debate of 2019, Democratic voters’ minds remain unchanged

December 27, 2019, 8:16 PM UTC

Despite the Christmas holiday, politics goes on. But perhaps people aren’t as attentive as they have been. According to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll conducted December 22 through Christmas Eve, little in the Democratic field has changed, despite last week’s Democratic debate (the sixth of the series). Former Vice President Joe Biden remains at the top when it comes to Democratic primary voters’ first choice this week followed by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders—both closely bunched in second place.



The only noticeable change from last week’s poll is the shift from Sanders in second place to Warren in second place, though the changes are well within the poll’s margin of error. Warren (15%) continues to be the candidate most frequently mentioned as a voter’s second choice followed by Sanders (12%), Biden (8%) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (7%).

According to those Democratic voters who saw parts of the debate there was no dominant winner, making this debate quite different from most previous ones, when Warren dominated and was perceived as having done the best job. One in three (30%) Democratic voters who saw at least some of the debate weren’t sure if any candidate did the best job. But some candidates did receive attention: among Democratic primary voters, 13 percent saw Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar as the debate winner, six points behind frontrunner Biden (19%). Among people who followed the debate in some capacity, nearly as many said businessman Andrew Yang (7%) won the debate as cited Warren (8%).

Klobuchar was just as likely to be named as the debate winner by liberal Democratic voters as by moderates.

Last week’s House passage of two Articles of Impeachment against President Donald Trump also had little impact on public opinion. There continues to be narrow public support for both impeachment and removal from office. By 49 percent to 41 percent, Americans approve of the House votes. By 44 percent to 41 percent, they want the Senate to remove the President. The partisan divide continues, and in this week’s poll, Independents narrowly approve of the House impeachment votes, 43 percent to 38 percent, but split 40 percent to 39 percent on whether Donald Trump should be removed by the Senate.

The House vote on impeachment, however, did affect opinion about one of the Democratic candidates. Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard was the only Representative to vote “present” on the two articles of impeachment. Democratic voters were unfavorable about her before the vote, and have become even more negative afterwards. More than two in five (44%) (up from 38% last week) say they would be disappointed if she were nominated, and now a majority of Democratic voters view her unfavorably (48%), more than double the percentage who have a favorable opinion of her (16%).

Read the full toplines and tables results from this week’s poll here

Image: Getty