Speed Reads

2020 Democratic debates

Klobuchar and Buttigieg had very different debate nights, survey shows

Who won Thursday's Democratic debate? It depends how you measure.

Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) got the most speaking time, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) coming close behind — all at around 20 minutes. Former Vice President Joe Biden talked for just 15 minutes, oddly low given his consistent lead in the polls, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang and billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer each got about 11 minutes with the mic.

Meanwhile, a new FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos survey finds two significant wins for Klobuchar, who "gained a little over 4 points in the share of respondents who said they were considering voting for her," more than double anyone else's gains. She also posted the best pre- and post-debate comparative gains in respondents' average rating of candidates' chances to beat President Trump. Still, relative improvements like Klobuchar's are not the same as an overall lead, and in that Biden, Sanders, and Warren dominated the night.

The debate's losers are easier to identify: Buttigieg and Steyer had the worst evening, the Ipsos survey showed, each coming away with higher unfavorable ratings and minimal gains among prospective voters. In fact, Buttigieg was the sole candidate whose net favorability declined.

The next Democratic debate is scheduled for January, and once again the polling and fundraising requirements for participation will be raised in an effort to narrow the field.