Democrat Debates: Who won and who lost?

Eric Zuesse

There are two very different types of measures of this, one being polling that was done both immediately before and immediately after the debates, and the other being Google searches of the names both immediately before and immediately after the debates. This report will cover both measures, as of June 30th.

Regarding the polling-data, there is, as of this moment, only one poll that was taken both immediately before and immediately after the debates, and it was issued at 11:18 AM on June 28th, the morning after the second of the two debates. It’s from 538 dot com and Morning Consult.

It was a very scientifically sampled poll throughout, and therefore is virtually definitive on the question regarding who actually won and lost from the debates.

Presumably the big winner from the debates, who is unquestionably Kamala Harris, will now be collecting enormous infusions of money, and not only from the voters who will donate small amounts to her campaign, but especially from the billionaires whom she has especially been seeking to flood her campaign with money.

This — the most reliable of all measures of the winners and losers — can be found at these two web-pages.

Here its bottom lines are summarized, in numbers:

    Changes in support:

  • Biden before debates 41.5%, after 1st debate 35.4%, after second debate 31.5%
  • Sanders before debates 14.4%, after 1st debate 16.4%, after second debate 17.3%
  • Warren before debates 12.6%, after 1st debate 18.0%, after second debate 14.4%
  • Harris before debates 7.9%, after 1st debate 6.3%, after second debate 16.6%
  • Buttigieg before debates 6.7%, after 1st debate 4.4%, after second debate 4.8%
    Source of new supporters:

  • Biden’s new supporters come mainly at the expense of the few undecideds.
  • Sanders’s new supporters come mainly at the expense of Warren.
  • Warren’s new supporters come mainly at the expense of Biden.
  • Harris’s new supporters come mainly at the expense of Sanders, and secondarily of Biden.
    Percent change:

  • Biden lost 10.0% from his pre-existing 41.5%, or -24% from his prior support.
  • Sanders gained 2.9% onto his pre-existing 14.4%, or +20% onto his prior support.
  • Warren gained 1.8% onto her pre-existing 12.6%, or +14% onto her prior support.
  • Harris gained 8.7% onto her pre-existing 7.9%, or +110% onto her prior support.
  • Buttigieg lost 1.9% from his pre-existing 6.7%, or -28% from his prior support.

Those are the main results, because those are the main four candidates, as of the present time, and because these numbers are the best indicators of the debate-performance. Harris’s more than doubling her support is an overwhelming indication that she will probably, as of the present moment, become the Democratic nominee, unless Sanders goes after her record ferociously and at least tries to end the big-money dominance of the Democratic Party (which she and almost all of the other candidates are courting).

If he does that, then Sanders, who himself rejects the support from the big-money donors, including from PACs, will need to greatly boost his collections from the Democratic Party electorate and thereby cause that Party to go ferociously against the billionaires who have been controlling that Party (other billionaires control the Republican Party) and for a reformed Democratic Party that represents instead the public.

This would crush Trump in the general election if it succeeds in taking control over the Democratic Party, away from its billionaires, which itself is highly unlikely to be able to be done.

Consequently, as of now, the likeliest winner of the Democratic nomination is Kamala Harris, who would then become a second Barack Obama, not merely in the sense that he is a light-skinned Black, but that she is an enormously gifted politician who is in the pockets of that Party’s billionaires. Pete Buttigieg had been trying to be that, but his style isn’t even nearly as effective as hers is.

Another, and very different, quantitative measure of debate-performance is google-searches, which is the best single indicator of the Democratic Party electorate’s, and of of independents’, and even of dissatisfied Republicans’, interest in learning more about the given candidate.

This is NOT at all similar to those polled numbers that were just summarized, because it indicates the responses of the entire American interested electorate, all of the potential general-election voters, the people who will be making the final choice on Election Day (assuming that the vote-counts on that day will be honestly tabulated).

Therefore, this measure is NOT an indicator of the sentiments of pre-existing Democratic Party voters — the people who are generally polled such as in the numbers just indicated here. These numbers can be wildly different from those numbers, because:

Among the public overall, 38% describe themselves as independents, while 31% are Democrats and 26% call themselves Republicans, according to Pew Research Center surveys conducted in 2018.” [An additional 5% are either “Other party” or “Don’t Know.”]

Consequently: If one of the Democratic Party candidates is drawing support mainly from outside the Party, then that candidate is drawing mainly from the 38% of independents and from the 26% of Republicans (i.e., from Republicans who disapprove of Trump) and from the 5% who are “Other Party” or “Don’t know.”).

That would be drawing support mainly from the 69% of Americans who are NOT Democrats, instead of from the 31% who ARE Democrats. Consequently, the most-googled candidate might possibly represent the strongest general-election candidate, but is not nearly as likely to be the Democratic Party’s nominee, unless and until the candidate rises in the Democratic Party primary polls to become the most-supported candidate among Democratic Party primary voters.

Here are those figures, directly from Google itself, which is the only original source of the numbers:

First night June 27-30:

  1. Tulsi Gabbard
  2. Elizabeth Warren
  3. Beto O’Rourke
  4. Cory Booker
  5. Julian Castro

Second night June 27-30:

  1. Kamala Harris
  2. Joe Biden
  3. Marianne Williamson
  4. Bernie Sanders
  5. Pete Buttigieg

What is particularly striking there is that in these results, one candiate, Harris, is also the likeliest to win the Party’s nomination, but the other, Tulsi Gabbard, scores dismally low in the polled figures:

Gabbard before debates 0.7%, after 1st debate 0.6%, after second debate 0.7%

What all this suggests is that, whereas possibly the strongest general-election candidate against Trump would be Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, who is one of the billionaires’ candidates, also might be.

Harris has been in Congress only since 3 January 2017, and so has a voting record on national issues that’s only as long as Trump has been in the White House, but her record there has been 100% consistent with what Obama’s policies were (and he too served only the billionaires) — she would be an Obama clone, whereas the congressional voting records of Sanders, Warren, and Gabbard, are considerably more progressive than that.

A voter in the Democratic Party primaries who is mainly concerned about beating Trump should be supporting either of those two candidates to become that Party’s nominee. As regards what criteria that person would be applying, no intelligent voter any longer trusts a candidate’s mere words, but instead votes on the basis of that person’s existing record of actual actions as a public official.

And, of course, a part of that record is the politician’s current policy regarding acceptance of PAC money, and the politician’s record of largest donors, especially in the latest campaign.


  • Kamala Harris: 34.87% come from donations smaller than $200. 57.78% come from donations larger than $200.
  • Tulsi Gabbard: 38.8% come from donations smaller than $200. 59.31% come from donations larger than $200.
  • Bernie Sanders: 75.55% come from donations smaller than $200. 22.81% come from donations larger than $200.
  • Joe Biden: 0.95% come from donations smaller than $200. 95.28% come from donations larger than $200.
  • Elizabeth Warren: 55.88% come from donations smaller than $200. 31.08% come from donations larger than $200.
  • Pete Buttigieg: “Alphabet” is Google. Amazon is Amazon. Almost the entire list represent billionaires.


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Jul 2, 2019 4:08 PM

The 2020 election is fast becoming too depressing to closely follow, as though it weren’t already. The only bright light on the horizon is the increasing unlikelihood of Biden’s prospects of securing the nomination.

Rhys Jaggar
Rhys Jaggar
Jul 2, 2019 12:49 PM

Tulsi Gabbard is being blackballed because she is not a militarily naive idiot who will go to war whenever she is told to. She was quite prominent until she backed up her military service with that disgraceful condition of considering international law to be something worth abiding by.

She has quite a few sensible policy decisions, but she comes from Hawaii, so building a base in the 48 has probably been more challenging than for someone from Texas or Massachusetts. Especially if the Ziomedia consider her to be unsound….

Oh and she does not have a kid, so she must be sexually deviant….

Jul 2, 2019 2:09 PM
Reply to  Rhys Jaggar

Trouble is the ziomedia don’t consider Gabbard unsound at all – as this Jerusalem Post article attests.

Gabbard is a champion of the “Jewish State” and in March this year when a swathe of dem candidates declined their invitations to the big AIPAC knees-up, Gabbard fronted, she can’t have wanted to knock back those zionist sponsors, eh.
Supporting the existence of any nation which gives rights and privileges to citizens depending on whatever ancient superstition they favour or ‘race’ they claim to belong to, is always tyrannical and unjust, it could never be anything else.

Now we should be cynical about the real reasons most of the dem candidates had for not fronting AIPAC, but those who did go belong well down the pecking order since there is no better way to demonstrate yer devotion to zionist rape and butchery than rubbing shoulders with AIPAC .

In addition Gabbard is frequently down on DC hackery especially dem hacks and warmongers, yet she supported the warmongering hack N Pelosi for House Speaker. IMO she is just another pol who talks the talk and never walks the walk.

Christopher Rog
Christopher Rog
Jul 3, 2019 2:32 PM
Reply to  Rhys Jaggar

A Sanders/Gabbard ticket would be a dream ticket for the US Presidential election, Sanders would get one term and Gabbard groomed for two terms, meaning real change in the trajectory of the USA, change that would benefit the average Joe greatly.

Chris Rogers
Chris Rogers
Jul 3, 2019 2:33 PM

I note the in-house posting system is having issues with names, its bloody Rogers, is it possible to fix this?

Jul 2, 2019 5:22 AM

Of course it is nonsense. The structure of the US political machine has been crafted over the last 250 years to ensure that power resides in the hands of a tiny self-interested elite and their rather larger coterie of enablers.

Personally I wouldn’t give two fucks about US elections except that having destroyed citizen input at ‘home’ and throughout the entire Americas, since the 1990’s the greedies and their nasty enablers have been seeking to spread that poison elsewhere – using much more power and nastiness than ever before.

For close on 30 years american style corporate capitalism has been propagandising, interfering, bribing and threatening to a far higher degree than ever before. In many ways the Whitlam dismissal was the exception rather than the rule especially dealing with other whitefella countries (which is what got Chris Boyce so het up).

Now everyone cops it everywhere and should they resist they get ‘russia-ed’ prior to being Gahdaffi-ed or Hussein-ed.
That is why we all need to pay attention to this farcical quadrennial beauty contest.

Not because we need to know who wins, but because we need to get ourselves a better understanding of the turgid and tendentious nonsense that is being pumped into americans’ heads and more importantly, how they are reacting to this tosh.

The thought processes which the apologists for dems put themselves through as they try justifying their actions are always of interest if only because when they become too convoluted as in the thinking of Zuesse above, we can be pretty certain that Jo/Joe Citizen will decline to indulge in the same mental gymnastics. – because it is just too hard to take on board.

Karmala Harris may win the nomination although I hope not because if she does she will almost certainly lose to Trump which is no big deal since on the big issues her cabal’s decisions would be unlikely to differ greatly from the trump cabal’s decisions.

But it would leave african-americans either feeling angry and oppressed at the american culture’s willingness to support a campaign based on a racist subtext, or bitter and angry that african americans had once again been done over by someone claiming to be just like them but who behaved just as a rich arsehole does.

White, Asian and Hispanic americans left knowing they had preferred a white arsehole to a black arsehole are going to be back to the 90’s uninterested in the fate of a big chunk of citizens, most of whom have a heritage of being american far longer than the average american.

On the surface we can say “So What! race is far from the determining cause of america’s cancer, poverty is the over-arching issue that must be overcome”. That is true but it is also true that a higher percentage of african americans are impoverished than white americans and white americans’ ability to remain unmoved by the state of poor/no accommodation, the shitty educational and then shitty vocational outcomes that most unwhite americans have to endure will translate across to an indifference to those of any race forced to endure economic injustice.

When the dollar democrats made their abysmal decision to oil the squeakiest wheel of their decaying society by addressing myriad social injustices faced by african americans, but to leave the economic injustices faced by americans of many races, including african americans alone they revealed their true colours.

They did as the elite insisted without recognising that they had sabotaged their own political structure in the process, by planting the seeds of the democrats’ destruction.

If a society fixes economic iniquity many of the worst injustices including those imagined to be race based, disappear along with the poverty.
Equally importantly, when most people are doing OK they are far less likely to get a hair up their arse about programs targeted to address specific flaws in health or education. Not because everyone becomes all peace and love when they have 3 squares a day plus a roof over their heads, bur because secure citizens are much less likely to get their knickers in a twist about issues which have little or nothing to do with them.
Sure types with a phobia about unwhites probably won’t change, but their potential supporters are far more likely to see these jerks for what the are, and not sign up to the irrational phobic tosh.

Karmala Harris is a time bombing ticking away in the Dem Party. Her egregious and publicity seeking prosecutions of african americans may allay the suspicions of some americans, but they won’t get through the majority who appear to accept america’s racist indoctrination, nor will they persuade those people who see her for what she is and the dollar democrat party for what it is.

On the other hand Sanders’ success on Fox and Warren’s rise tells us that a big number, big enough that it could be coaxed into a majority, favour policies that require citizen control and regulation.

Before those programs could become a political reality the people espousing them would have to alter their vocabulary.

As socialist as I am proud to be, I believe the term has lived well past its best before date and if socialists believe they can win sufficient support in the destined to f++k ’em up western political system, they must pay heed to the manner which the greedies used to indoctrinate busy citizens focussed on work & families, into having a set against interventionist policies.
e.g. They never called ’em interventionist policies for a start. They called them socialist policies and strove to keep the terminology simple and the issues black or white, good or bad.
That simplicity of propagandising did make it easier to disseminate, sure, but it also left the brainwash vulnerable to those astute enough to steer clear of the terminology favoured by the media manipulators to create their own terminology.

That leaves the greedies as the only people talking about ‘commies’, ‘pinkos’ etc. and encourages Jo/Joe Normal to see the ridiculousness of the positions which the greedies’ mouthpieces try to articulate.

In short as a vehicle of genuine political change the quadrennial US prez contest is worthless, but it does have value as a means to measure our compatriots’ state of political awareness and to shift that perspective.

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Jul 1, 2019 11:43 PM

Eric – I like a lot of what you write, but regards the above story, its all just one big yawn zzz zzzz zzzz…. A completely confected Punch & Judy show to have the masses believe they have a real choice in what happens. Its all banal bumfluff. United States is not a democracy; its an Oligarchy. Even Princeton University proved that. And Rachel Maddow was one of the moderators? The Empire is in safe hands then…

Jul 1, 2019 11:31 PM

Creepy Joe, Crazy Bernie, Pocahontas, Kabbala Haaretz, Buttplug, WTF difference does it make?
Does anybody really give a toss about which of these multi millionaires gets to kiss Adelson’s ring and serve the interests of the billionaires and pick up his instructions from AIPAC and Nuttyyahoo?
You might as well elect a trained monkey to rattle its tin cup for Israel, or a trained parrot to squawk incessantly, “Give more money to Israel!!!”

The monkey or the parrot would at least be more attractive and entertaining to look at. Probably more intelligent and a more pleasant personality too.

Jul 2, 2019 8:14 AM
Reply to  mark

Whilst I still think many of your neo-racist neologisms occasionly go too far …’Kabbala Haaretz’ is a good one. Thanks for the smiles. 🙂

Tim Jenkins
Tim Jenkins
Jul 3, 2019 7:33 PM
Reply to  BigB

and i’m still chuckling at that one, whilst endorsing your observations.

Artistic license, BigB 🙂 cannot be censored . . .
humour is quintessential to our survival & reductive expectations 😉

Jul 1, 2019 6:36 PM

Two things we learned when Trump won is that all the criticism in the world couldn’t stop him, and polls and stats weren’t reliable at all. So, Tulsi Gabbard could certainly win;)

Jul 1, 2019 7:00 PM
Reply to  SharonM

Except that she talks so much sense that the ENTIRE “Deep State” would move mountains to prevent her from winning.
If Mark Twain thought that voting made no difference, we should all have learned that lesson too by now.

Jul 1, 2019 8:14 PM
Reply to  wardropper

Yes. I think that we should push Tulsi Gabbard on every mainstream/establishment website we come across, because even though we know that she will likely be stopped by the oligarchy running this country, the symbol she represents as the only anti-war candidate in the two war parties would be a kind of gage to measure how strong the antiwar movement is in this country(the U.S.).

Jul 1, 2019 9:59 PM
Reply to  SharonM

Good point, although I remember well how the media simply “disappeared” Ron Paul – a clever, and very outspoken anti-war politician, because he was starting to get a great deal of support for his position.
I see he is still pretty active on his blog, by the way, and he keeps in touch with events.

Jul 1, 2019 10:12 PM
Reply to  wardropper

Yes, Ron Paul has been a very good voice on foreign policy:) Not many politicians here sound reasonable at all.

Tim Jenkins
Tim Jenkins
Jul 3, 2019 6:57 PM
Reply to  SharonM

Not many politicians here sound reasonable at all.

With the exception of Tulsi G. (even Bannon considered, for ‘marketing’ strategy), I cannot foresee that any of the others have a chance in hell against Trump in 2020, once the wildcardhorses have been released.

Trump has more than a few aces up his sleeve, to trump the minds of a huge amount of tired jaded Democratic voters & entice the continued loyalty of the working class. THC is legal in well over half the states already and fully legal in Canada now, for future competition: also it is one of the few growth businesses & investment stocks, where the Israelis have already invested $1.1 Billion in pure product research & development. This was one of the reasons that Trump needed to get rid of Jeff Sessions and install an Attorney General like Bill Barr, in preparation for legitimate progressive & well timed moves in Federal Law, in a number of directions. And when he does release his plans & policy offers to voters (which voters now trust to materialise), the Dems. will be elsewhere occupied & divided legally and once again not united enough to confront Trump constructively, on policy matters: let alone market a collective constructive societal Vision for the USA.inc 2020-24
& beyond bankruptcy.

Of course, the ole’ rule of 7 days in politics still applies, but the polls are all meaningless, except the private ones of R.& R. Mercer and their Data reserves & networking behind the scenes, are enormous,
rather like Thiel, Adelson & Co’s financial capacity.
Barr-ing some extreme event, it would appear that Trump has 2020 already in the bag, since the Dems. Russia-Hoax: and I diagnosed the same in 2016, long in advance, on record still @theguardian, though almost nobody believed me, when it was all about * ‘Judgement’ * … The affair Assange & Seth Rich has all gone very quiet, for the moment 🙂 now that disMay has been forced to resign, in private: Lol, her face & body language when shaking hands with Putin @G20, (she was portrayed in a Hazmat. suit in East European cartoon circles) and given the SIGINT evidence against Boris Johnson & Hannigan of GCHQ on Treason USA & Operation Charlemagne with Italian & Ukrainian S.S. wholly implicated, whomsoever evolves in the UK is in for a mighty shock in any dealings & negotiations with Trump, behind closed doors. Which is why Boris dodged Trump in the UK & Capital has flown out of Europe: 🙂 and before 2020 Trump will have ended the Korean War, finally, something to market & mask other intentions in this direction, in a wholly overheated & indebted economy, like never before, Dollars are in short supply, with loads still lying offshore. No surprises to see Christine Lagarde getting the hell outta’ Dodge & the IMF, onto pastures new at the ECB, as Trump winds up for an assault on the Federal Reserve Bank 😉 , after 2020 … First Chinese Affairs must be regulated, in some form.

The way I see it, Trump has a habit of pulling rabbits outta’ hats & rabbit holes, just for fun 🙂 and watch arrogant political ‘accessories’ squirm: and not even AOC seems to be having fun with her Green New Deal at corporate level & were weather modification to become a matter for Trump & farmers to discuss, well suffice to say, scientifically Trump could HAARP on about Ms. Cortez’s conspiracy theory, orchestrated by the deep state globally …

AIMS = Artificial Ionospheric Mirrors & climate modification is a matter of masses of records shrouded by massive smoke & mirrors since 2001, until now, let alone MSM censorship and when the Germans finally admit this as NATO partner, on the 31st September 2019 (Merkel’s discussion pre-programmed, thus she shakes in NATO boots), then Trump doesn’t even have to break the news that caused the investigation by the SEC into Enron, Monsanto, GEC, the US D.o.D. BP ARCO & HAARP, & Chicago exchange Weather Derivatives, that was all destroyed in Building 7, 2001, with the records from many other security agencies: like the missing Trillions from the D.o.D mentioned by Rumsfeld just the day before the event … Boom. Trump has leverage & legal weaponry against just about anybody he chooses, now & he has the NSA onboard, who run parallel platforms in order to employ surveillance of any target globally & therefore, Robert Mueller’s service as FBI boss from the 7th September 2001 onwards means … I really don’t need to explain how evidence & testimony can be leveraged from guilty parties … cutting a deal.

I once saw a fascinating ole’ black & white picture of three college girls together, smiling: May, Merkel, & Gina Haspel … just a thought 🙂

Like BigB says below: ‘Pure Kabuki theatre for the disinterested’, disenchanted & disfranchised.

Jul 2, 2019 6:13 PM
Reply to  wardropper

Given the large number of independent voters, it seems to me that a Paul/Gabbard independent ticket would have the best chance to attract voters from both cheeks of the same arse parties.

They have enough time for it.

Jul 2, 2019 10:34 PM
Reply to  DunGroanin

I like that idea, but I fear the media would revolt against it, with a vengeance . . .

Jul 1, 2019 11:35 PM
Reply to  SharonM

Yes, maybe she’ll be the anti war candidate who’s against more stupid wars for Israel.
Like Dubya Bush was.
Like Obongo was.
Like Trump was.

Jul 2, 2019 3:42 AM
Reply to  mark

You’re singing to the choir:) I know most everyone posting at Off Guardian are much more enlightened about the bs than the masses. The election cycle is for the masses who don’t know, but I would like an antiwar position pushed on them at least:)

different frank
different frank
Jul 2, 2019 11:06 AM
Reply to  mark

Obongo. Really?
Do me a favour.

Jul 1, 2019 11:33 PM
Reply to  SharonM

What does it matter? She sings from the same AIPAC hymn sheet as the rest of them.

Jul 2, 2019 3:36 AM
Reply to  mark

Yes, that could very well be. I’m not ever going to argue with someone who’s been really following what’s been going on in the world in favour of some war party candidate. Too many people are far too ignorant of the lies. They’re nowhere close to where you and most everyone here are on it all. Those are the people I want to at least get thinking about being against war;)

Steve Hayes
Steve Hayes
Jul 1, 2019 4:12 PM

What would happen if Trump campaigned on Medicare/Medicaid for all?

Jul 1, 2019 8:29 PM
Reply to  Steve Hayes

He’d be re-elected but do nothing of the kind, of course.

Jul 1, 2019 2:15 PM

Pure Kabuki theatre for the disinterested …