So far, Elizabeth Warren’s Democratic primary strategy seems to be working pretty well. She’s been steadily gaining support since the spring, when she was polling around fifth place, and is now neck-and-neck with Bernie Sanders, according to RealClearPolitics’ polling average. Early-state activists think she’s gaining momentum, the most plugged-in subset of Democrats seems to be coalescing behind her, and she’s well-liked among primary voters. But she’s still not within striking distance of Joe Biden, who continues to hold a double-digit lead over the rest of the field.

For the first time this cycle, there was just one debate night, and only 10 candidates made the cut — so now we’re trying to make sense of what happened when the front-runners shared the stage. In recent weeks, the polls have shown a top tier of three to five candidates, with former Vice President Joe Biden leading, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren tied for second, and Sen. Kamala Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, a distant fourth and fifth — but did that change last night?

Yesterday, I wrote about the middle and upper echelons of the Democratic field: those candidates who are polling in the mid-single-digits or higher. You can certainly posit a rough order of which of these candidates are more likely to win the nomination. I’d much rather wager a few shekels on Joe Biden than Pete Buttigieg, for instance. But I don’t think there’s any hard-and-fast distinction between the top tier and the next-runners-up.

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