Former Vice President Joe Biden dropped ten points following Thursday evening’s bruising primary debate, according to a Morning Consult/FiveThirtyEight poll.
The poll, released on Friday, shows 31.5 percent of likely Democrat voters would vote for Biden if the election were held today, down from 41.5 percent who voiced the same sentiments prior to the debate.
The Democrat Party’s early front-runner was forced to defend his record on race in the face of tough questions from Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). That was only after he defended his age after jabs from Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), one of two millennial candidates, in the prime-time clash.
“I do not believe you are a racist,” Harris said, though she described Biden’s record of working with Democrat segregationist senators on non-race issues as “hurtful.”
Clearly on defense, the 76-year-old called the Harris attack “a complete mischaracterization of my record.” He declared, “I ran because of civil rights.”
According to the poll, Harris jumped from 7.9 percent prior to the debate to 16.6 percent afterward — roughly a nine point increase.
Morning Consult and FiveThirtyEight polled the 7,150 registered voters between June 19-26, and then 1,399 of such respondents from June 27-28. The survey has a margin of error of three percentage points.
The debate marked an abrupt turning point in a Democrat primary in which candidates have largely tiptoed around each other, focusing instead on their shared desire to beat President Trump. However, the debate revealed just how deep the fissures are within the Democrat Party eight months before primary voting begins.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.