vision 2020

Yang Qualifies, Busts Up All-White Debate Stage

Will Yang celebrate making the stage by wearing a tie? Stay tuned. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

With just two days left before qualifying ends for the December 19 Democratic presidential-candidate debate in Los Angeles, the specter of an all-white field strutting its pasty-faced stuff on the stage was dispelled when a national poll from Quinnipiac lifted Asian-American Andrew Yang over the velvet rope. There are now seven candidates still in the race who have qualified for the sixth debate: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, and Yang. Kamala Harris qualified but then dropped out of the race. Tulsi Gabbard is one qualifying poll short but has indicated she will not participate even if she does meet the threshold. And Mike Bloomberg lacks one qualifying poll as well but isn’t taking campaign contributions and thus cannot meet the grassroots donor threshold (and probably doesn’t want to debate anyway at this point).

Candidates still in the race who have fallen far short of the threshold for this debate (none has a single qualifying poll) are Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, John Delaney, Deval Patrick, and Marianne Williamson. This is Booker’s first debate non-qualification and the second for Castro.

Aside from qualifying Yang and mooting days of hand-wringing over the absence of people of color on the December 19 stage, today’s polls included some interesting tidbits. Quinnipiac showed both Biden (in first place with 29 percent) and Sanders (with 17 percent) making gains, while Warren (at 15 percent) has stable support and Buttigieg (at 9 percent) is losing some ground. Some of the crosstabs were pretty remarkable, though:

So the two 30-something candidates had a combined 5 percent of the youth vote, while septuagenarians Sanders, Warren, Biden, and Bloomberg combined for 82 percent. And then there’s this:

If you want to know why Booker hasn’t gone anywhere, that showing will tell you a lot. And Biden’s strength among black voters remains impressive.

A Monmouth poll released earlier today showed that Bloomberg — whose massive ad campaign and (presumably) residual name ID gave him 5 percent of the overall vote (just where he was in the Quinnipiac survey, too) — has the worst favorable/unfavorable numbers of the major candidates, coming in at 40/39 among Democrats and a horrific 26/54 among registered voters generally. Monmouth’s horse-race numbers are pretty similar to Quinnipiac’s, showing Biden at 26 percent, Sanders at 21 percent, Warren at 17 percent, and Buttigieg at 8 percent.

Yang Qualifies, Busts Up All-White Debate Stage