Former Vice President Joe Biden is leading the crowded field of Democratic presidential candidates, with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in second place, according to a new poll out Thursday.
Biden tops an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll with 26 percent support, followed by Warren at 19 percent and Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Bernie Sanders of Vermont each at 13 percent.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg ranks fifth with 7 percent support, while entrepreneur Andrew Yang and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke register at 2 percent. The remaining candidates are at 1 percent or less.
Despite the presence of a clear top-tier in the poll, there are signs the race remains fluid: Only 12 percent of respondents said their minds are definitely made up on which candidate they will support in the primary, meaning most voters are open to changing their minds before Democrats begin to cast votes in February.
The survey was conducted after last month’s Democratic debates in Miami and the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
A majority said they either watched or listened to some or all of the first two debates. An additional 28 percent said they didn’t watch the debates but paid close attention to news stories about them. Less than 20 percent said they neither watched the debates nor paid close attention to news stories about them.
Nearly 80 percent of Democratic primary voters who did listen to or watch the debates said they did so for both nights, with the field split between two consecutive nights. The remaining 21 percent listened to or watched only one of the debates.
Harris stood out on the second night of debates for calling out Biden’s record on race and federally mandated busing to better integrate schools. Forty-seven percent of Democratic primary voters surveyed said Harris’ debate performance most impressed them. Thirty-two percent said Warren, who debated on the first night, most impressed them.
Harris is also the top candidate voters say they would consider supporting but want to learn more about. Sixteen percent said that of Harris, while 14 percent said the same of Buttigieg and 12 percent said it of Warren.
NBC News and The Wall Street Journal are approved poll sponsors by the Democratic National Committee for the party’s debates. The poll does little to alter the landscape for the next debate, later this month in Detroit, for which the field is essentially set at 20 candidates split between two nights.
The poll does bring good news for two candidates who have not yet qualified for the first fall debate in September, according to a POLITICO analysis. With both O’Rourke and Yang at 2 percent, the latest survey gives the former Texas congressman three qualifying polls and the outsider entrepreneur his first. Candidates need 2 percent in four qualifying polls, along with 130,000 unique donors (with 400 in at least 20 states), to make it on stage.
The NBC/WSJ poll of 400 Democratic primary voters was conducted July 7-9. It has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.9 percentage points.
Zach Montellaro contributed to this report.