Speed Reads

2020 Democratic debates

Biden's approval actually rose after the first debate, live polling numbers show

Some early polling on the first Democratic debates suggest former Vice President Joe Biden lost some support as his rivals made their cases to voters, but he was able to maintain — or even improve — his approval numbers.

New York Magazine on Friday took a look at the results of some live polling of 210 Democratic voters from seven demographic groups conducted by pollster Stanley Greenberg during the debates, finding what the report described as some "good news" for Biden. Although pundits saw the debate as downright brutal for the former vice president, according to this limited live-polling, Biden's "overall approval rose after he was done debating."

Additionally, while Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who sparred with Biden during the debate's most notable moment over his civil rights record, increased her African-American approval in this live-polling, Biden actually did as well. Greenberg told New York Magazine that Biden received "significant African-American support" when he defended himself against Harris' criticism. By the end of the second night of debating, Biden and Harris had the highest approval ratings, the report says, although most groups felt Harris won.

"He still has an Obama base that's there," Greenberg told New York Magazine. "Erosion should be part of the story, but we should not underestimate that coalition.”

FiveThirtyEight, meanwhile, is also out with some polling suggesting that Biden took a hit in support during the debate. For this poll, voters were surveyed on the candidates both before and after the debate, and Biden fell from 42 percent support to 32 percent support. At the same time, FiveThirtyEight notes that "while Biden lost some supporters, his overwhelmingly positive favorability ratings didn’t really change, suggesting that he can still recover even if he hurt his cause on Thursday night."