When it comes to nonverbals, psychological discomfort is always an attention grabber. When Julián Castro attacked Joe Biden not once but twice, questioning his recall and his policies, Biden squinted and furrowed his glabella (the small areas between the eyes just above nose). This is a classic sign of psychological discomfort—which could signal dislike, disdain or anxiety.
Castro used an unrelenting, machine-gunning verbal technique to go after Biden, and Biden let it rattle him. When someone attacks you like that, it’s best to pause and take a moment to calm yourself. Some might break the tension with a little laugh, a low exhale or a deep breath.
The fact that Biden’s discomfort was brought on by one of the less popular candidates was significant. Glabella furrowing can elicit sympathy from an observer. (Babies develop the ability to furrow their glabellas at 3 to 6 weeks.) But when you see facial displays of psychological discomfort on someone with 40 years of government experience, brought on by a less experienced candidate who isn’t polling as well, it makes you wonder: Is he prepared for the onslaught that will come when he faces off against Donald Trump?
The big picture is that the debate may have solidified the shape of the field — with Biden in first and Warren and Sanders probably in that order behind him.
But one big question going forward is whether Warren will manage to put some distance between herself and Sanders, emerging as the clear second-place candidate rather than essentially tied with Sanders (as polling averages currently show).
What about early state polls? All of this parsing of national primary polls is interesting enough, but there is no national primary; the contest instead will be shaped by early state results, starting with the Iowa caucuses.
Polling in Iowa, though, has been sparse in recent months. There have been some polls showing Warren actually winning there, but they tend to be from online pollsters without a track record of polling the caucuses so it’s unclear how much confidence we should place in them. Other polls continue to show Biden ahead.
The gold standard of Iowa polling is Ann Selzer’s Des Moines Register poll, which was reportedly in the field in recent days, so that should be an interesting result when it comes out.
For now, though, we have two Iowa polls that were conducted after the debate.
One, an online poll by Civiqs conducted for Iowa State University, shows Warren winning there with 24 percent, substantially ahead of the tied-for-second Biden and Sanders with 16 percent each, Buttigieg with 13 percent, and Harris 5 percent.
The other, a phone poll by David Binder Research for a Democratic group called Focus on Rural America, shows Biden winning with 25 percent, Warren close behind with 23 percent, Buttigieg in third with 12 percent, Sanders down in fourth with 9 percent, and, surprisingly, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar in fifth with 8 percent.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren has reached the top of the Democratic pack, and now she has the scars to prove it.
The Massachusetts senator weathered attacks throughout the fourth Democratic debate, which was held Tuesday night in Ohio. It was the first such event since Warren started beating former Vice President Joe Biden in several national polls.
Democrats also focused on the economy and the ongoing impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump in a wide-ranging debate that, with 12 contenders on stage, was the most crowded in presidential history.
In addition to fending off the most attacks — 16, according to a tally by NBC News — Warren also spoke the most, clocking in at about 23 minutes in total. Biden spoke for about 16 minutes on Tuesday.
Elizabeth Warren repeatedly came under attack during the Democratic presidential debate as rivals accused the Massachusetts senator of ducking questions about the cost of Medicare for All and her signature wealth tax plan in an attempt to derail her rising campaign.
The pile-on Tuesday reinforced her new status as a front-runner in the contest to take on President Donald Trump next year. With first state primaries rapidly approaching, her many challengers have dwindling opportunities to emerge as powerful alternatives to the progressive agenda she’s championing.
The night’s confrontations were mostly fought on familiar terrain for the Democrats, who have spent months sparring over the future of health care with former Vice President Joe Biden and other moderates pressing for a measured approach while Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders call for a dramatic, government-funded overhaul of the insurance market.
Still, unlike Sanders, Warren refused to say whether she would raise taxes on the middle class to pay for a Medicare for All universal health insurance plan — a stance that’s increasingly difficult to maintain given her more prominent status.
Former Vice President Joe Biden suffered a precipitous drop in the latest New Hampshire poll, falling to the lowest point his campaign has seen this cycle, while Sen. Bernie Sanders recaptured his first-place spot narrowly over Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Sanders (I-Vt.) was the first choice of 21 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, followed by Warren (D-Mass.) at 18 percent, Biden at 15 percent and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 10 percent, according to the Granite State Poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire and co-sponsored by CNN.
In a three-way tie for fifth place: entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, each at 5 percent.
With his fourth-place finish, Buttigieg becomes the fourth candidate to qualify for the sixth official primary debate in December, co-sponsored by POLITICO and PBS. He will join Biden, Sanders and Warren for the debate at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Gabbard also took another step toward qualifying for next month's fifth debate in Atlanta: She needs either to earn 5 percent in one more early state poll or earn at least 3 percent in two more polls, national or early state, qualification closes on Nov. 13.
The UNH poll was conducted Oct. 21-27, surveying 574 likely Democratic primary voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.