'Top-Tier' Harris Leads Gabbard by Less Than Margin of Error

Harris previously mocked Gabbard for low polling

Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris / Getty Images
September 4, 2019

Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) called herself a "top-tier" candidate in July while mocking Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) for her low polling, but in a new survey Harris leads Gabbard by less than the margin of error.

Harris received just 5 percent support from likely Democratic primary voters in a new Economist/YouGov poll, down 4 points from the same survey last month. Gabbard was right behind Harris with 3 percent support, meaning Harris's advantage is within the poll's margin of error of 2.6 percent.

Gabbard ripped Harris at July's CNN debate for her record as California's attorney general, specifically for the extensive prosecutions of marijuana users in the state during her tenure. Harris fired back after the debate that Gabbard was only attacking her due to the Hawaii congresswoman's low standing in the polls.

"I'm obviously a top-tier candidate, and so I did expect that I would be on the stage and take hits tonight, because there are a lot of people that are trying to make the stage for the next debate," Harris said, adding, "especially when people are at zero or 1 percent, or whatever [Gabbard] might be at, and so I did expect that I might take hits tonight."

Harris also called Gabbard an "apologist" for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Before the debate, Gabbard said her experience as a soldier had led her to believe Harris was not qualified to be commander in chief.

Harris experienced a surge following her well-received slam on former vice president Joe Biden in June for his opposition to school desegregation busing in the 1970s. However, her health care stance has meandered and she has struggled to keep pace with Biden, as well as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), who both command respect from the party's left flank.

However, Harris was one of 10 Democrats to qualify for the third round of debates this month, while Gabbard didn't make the cut.