Miami Democratic Debate Night Two

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? On night one, the two off-the-radar names that might have moved the needle were Tulsi Gabbard and Julian Castro based on initial polling of debate viewers. Though there's now the narrative that conservatives were encouraged to participate in those polls and to vote for Tulsi Gabbard. There appears to be validity to that idea given that Andrew Yang, given only about 3 minutes of time, was showing well during these night two debate polls. 

Meanwhile, the ratings are in from the first night and 15.3 million total viewers watched the debate across all NBC platforms and Telemundo. That’s 500,000 fewer viewers than tuned into the first 2016 Democratic Presidential debate.

What about last night’s debate? Ranking based on the initial unaccredited polls, excluding Yang:

  • Kamala Harris: 1st
  • Bernie Sanders: 2nd
  • Pete Buttigieg: 3rd
  • Joe Biden: 4th
  • All others at 3% or less

Looking at the initial returns, Tulsi Gabbard seems to match the Democratic electorate the best, on desired traits and positions, Kamala Harris, rose to the top in night two. This might have been a breakout moment on the national stage for her. It’s hard to contrast the candidates from one night to the next but right along I’ve mentioned that Joe Biden seems like this year’s Jeb Bush to me. Polling first early because of name recognition, but extremely vulnerable. Nothing that happened last night leaves me feeling differently. 

Photo by: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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