CNN on Harris's Polling Drop: Voters Don't Know What Her Vision for the Country Is

'Top-tier' Harris leads Gabbard by only three points after mocking her polling last month

August 20, 2019

Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) suffered a precipitous drop in a new poll because she hasn't made a case for her vision for the country, an analyst said Tuesday.

A CNN survey found Harris dropping from 17 percent in June to just 5 percent support among Democratic voters, well behind frontrunner Joe Biden (29 percent) and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), who were at 15 and 14 percent, respectively.

"Senator Harris has not made the positive case for her vision for the country," said assistant Washington Post editor David Swerdlick. "Vice President Biden's theory of the case is make America America again. Senator Warren's theory of the case is 'I've got a plan for that' ... Senator Harris, I think, is good at creating those viral moments in confirmation hearings, in debates against Vice President Biden, but people still wonder where does she want to take the country."

Harris, who described herself as a "top-tier" candidate following last month's CNN debate, is tied with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the new poll.

She received a boost in June when she blasted Biden over his stance on busing to desegregate schools, even though she essentially adopted his old position in the days following the debate.

However, her campaign has been marked by flip-flops on support for Medicare for All and overall slipperiness on her health care stance, in addition to strong criticism of her criminal justice record as California's Attorney General. Harris took fire from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) at the CNN debate over the nearly 2,000 people sent to prison for marijuana-related offenses during her tenure.

Harris responded by mocking Gabbard's polling and calling herself "top-tier," but she only led Gabbard by three points in the CNN survey.