Sen. Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign probably peaked following the first Democratic primary debate this summer. After seeing a surge in the polls from an aggressive primetime performance going after former Vice President Joe Biden on race issues, Harris’s numbers have been sinking ever since.
A new Emerson poll released Thursday shows Harris struggling to pick up steam in Iowa, the critical first-in-the-nation state that Harris previously pledged a third-place finish to keep the campaign afloat.
The poll, conducted between Oct. 13-16 on days surrounding the fourth Democratic primary debate, puts Harris in a distant 10th place from the senator’s desired third place standing with 2 percent support among Democratic caucus voters.
Harris’s lack of significant support in Iowa has further put a struggling campaign in crisis after senior staff promised a third-place finish to stay competitive in the crowded primary.
“I’m f*****g moving to Iowa,” Harris was caught telling fellow Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii in September.
“I’m f****** moving to Iowa,” Sen. Kamala Harris joked to Sen. Hirono (before she noticed me) pic.twitter.com/dv0PRWLY8g
— Matt Laslo (@MattLaslo) September 18, 2019
The campaign then announced its pivot to the state, declaring it would send Harris to Iowa every week in October in addition to doubling its staff there.
So far, however, Harris’s big bet on Iowa shows likely to be a bad one with no signs of paying off as the new Emerson poll shows Harris dropping further support. According to Emerson, Biden is tied with Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, each garnering 23 percent support, followed by South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 16 percent and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont at 13 percent.
Real Clear Politics’ aggregate of polls shows that, at Harris’s highpoint, the California senator held 16 percent support at the end of July putting Harris in second place at the time, a dramatic difference from her 10th place standing less than four months away from the Iowa caucuses.
Nationally, Real Clear Politics shows Harris has dropped to fifth place behind Buttigieg, and her biggest standout moment from this week’s debate was when she challenged Warren to join her crusade to ban President Donald Trump on Twitter, reducing problems facing the tech industry down to calling on a private company to kick the president off its platform. Warren was having none of it.
“I don’t just want to push Donald Trump off Twitter. I want to push him out of the White House. That’s our job,” Warren asserted.
In prior debates, Harris has struggled to repeat her well-received performance in June, taking a brutal beating from U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii on the debate stage in July. That began the senator’s slow decline from top-tier candidate when Gabbard called out Harris’s role in blowing up California incarceration rates.
“Sen. Harris said she’s proud of her record as a prosecutor and that she’ll be a prosecutor president, but I’m deeply concerned about this record.” Gabbard said during the CNN debate.
She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations, and then laughed about it when she was asked if she’d ever smoked marijuana. She blocked evidence that would have freed a man from death row until the courts forced her to do so. She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California. And she fought to keep cash bail system in place that impacts poor people in the worst kind of way.
Harris has still never recovered from the moment despite releasing a criminal justice plan attempting to counter her record as an aggressive prosecutor.
The Emerson poll surveyed 317 registered voters with a +/-5.5 percent margin of error.