Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) took on the frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, at last week's Democratic presidential debates, and a new poll shows that it may have paid off.
During the debate, Harris notably went after Biden for his nostalgia over working with segregationists in the Senate and his past opposition to busing for school integration.
In a new post-debate poll from CNN, Harris saw a 9 percent bump, now polling at 17 percent nationally, while Biden, saw a 10 percent decline, now polling at 22 percent.
Similarly, a post-debate poll from Morning Consult shows Harris gaining to land at 12 percent, which leaves her tied for third with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). In that poll, Biden lost five points, still leaving him in the lead with 33 percent.
"Kamala Harris was the perfect foil for Joe Biden here, because one of the things that she did show is that she is tough and she could handle that," Patrick Murrary, Director of Monmouth University's Polling Center told Cheddar Politics Monday.
Murray says that this decline was expected following Biden's poor performance, despite weeks of solid numbers attributed to his nearly universal name recognition.
"A lot of Democratic voters are just starting to tune into this race," Murray said. "So, they really don't know these candidates, except by reputation. That's part of the reason why Joe Biden's been in the lead."
After the debates wrapped up, Harris' campaign announced the California Senator raised more than $2 million from small donors in the 24 hours following her performance.
Murray said the jump in the polls following her viral takedown of Biden's dicey past wasn't about race, but rather, shows that she has what it takes to rival the incumbent, which could give some Biden supporters pause as they cite his electability.
"Most of Joe Biden's supporters are older, they are more conservative than the rest of the party, they really couldn't care less whether he's woke or not on issues of race," Murray explained. "What they want to know is that he can handle the campaign, and what they're hearing from the media right now is that he didn't handle that well."
While Harris took a big jump forward, candidates like Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke went downhill. O'Rourke actually fell from 4 to 2 percent in the Morning Consult poll.
"Beto O'Rourke, I think, had the worst night out of the two," Murray said of the candidate, adding that he thinks the former Texas Congressman will ultimately "fade."
Despite the drop in the polls, Buttigieg announced Monday that his campaign reeled in nearly $25 million in donations during the second quarter of the campaign, tripling the amount raised in the first quarter.
Though many political junkies remain skeptical of early polling in the race to 2020, Murray said their importance is significantly different than past years because they are driving the narrative.
Other major 2020 polls ー as well as Q2 fundraising numbers ー are expected to drop throughout the week.