Miami Democratic Debate Night One

While previewing the Democrat’s debate earlier this week I brought you a few key numbers that play a role as the 2020 cycle kicks off for Democrats.

  • 22% Percentage of registered Democrats were familiar with the candidates and their positions prior to the debates
  • 33% Percentage of leaders in polling going into the first debate who’ve won the nomination

It’s like this. Only the hard-core news junkies pay attention prior to the debates kicking off. As a result, the candidates that poll the best aren’t generally supported by much more than having the highest name recognition. That’s why these debates are so important. It’s where a candidate like Barak Obama, Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter establishes themselves among the party faithful. First impressions are important in life but especially when you have 24 candidates competing and only five or six who currently have enough financial support and campaign structure to make it to Iowa. So, what about those first impressions? There were three online polls by news organizations that polled very similar results. In the eyes of viewers and online voters, the clear standout was Hawaii’s, Tulsi Gabbard. 

Here's how they performed in the three online polls.

  • Tulsi Gabbard: 36%, 41%, 35%
  • Elizabeth Warren: 24%, 21%, 13%
  • Julian Castro: 11%, 10%, 4%
  • Cory Booker: 7%, 6%, 4%
  • John Delaney: 4%, 5%, 11%
  • Amy Klobuchar: 5%, 5%, 6%
  • Beto O’Rourke: 5%, 7%, 4%
  • Bill de Blasio: 3%, 3%, 9%
  • Tim Ryan: 2%, 2%, 7%
  • Jay Inslee: 2%, 2%, 6%

Looking at the initial returns, the two candidates not named Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker who may have just become contenders were Gabbard along with Castro. People’s perception of who performed best doesn’t always equal pledged support, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. 

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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