As discussed yesterday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar talked her way into some positive feedback from debate viewers. The other candidate, however, that boosted his prospects even beyond Klobuchar was none other than businessman and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

According to Morning Consult, Yang, Klobuchar, and Steyer enjoyed the most positive feedback from debate viewers, increasing their favorability ratings. The same poll also found that Biden and Warren dipped slightly, while the rest, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, remained largely unchanged.

As Newsweek reports, though, this is big news for Yang and will inevitably give him a boost in attempting to qualify for the debate in January and beyond:

Andrew Yang has slightly overtaken Pete Buttigieg in the 2020 Democratic primary net favorability rankings following the sixth debate between party candidates, a new poll has found.

The entrepreneur’s net favorability score—the share of potential Democratic primary voters who view him positively minus those with unfavorable views—jumped seven points after the Los Angeles debate, according to Morning Consult.

As a result of the post-debate boost, Yang now has a net favorability score of 34 percent, putting him in fourth place and a point ahead of Pete Buttigieg on 33 percent.

Prior to the debate, Morning Consult polling between December 9 and 15 found Buttigieg three points ahead of Yang on favorability, with a 30 percent net positive rating.

These numbers are great for Yang, and he did come across as very approachable and thoughtful in his answers and provided a commanding interpretation of the future problems posed to the economy by robotics and artificial intelligence. Those answers are intriguing for a lot of reasons because none of Yang’s opponents on stage have been able to frame it that way or sound convincing when they do.

Being favorably viewed by debate watchers and primary voters is positive, but it doesn’t necessarily translate into support on caucus or primary day. Yang is still stuck in seventh place nationally and eighth place in Iowa.

Another part of the poll, which Newsweek didn’t touch on in their reporting, was the question put to poll respondents of which candidate actually won the debate. The answer might surprise you, per Politico:

According to a poll conducted by Morning Consult and POLITICO, a plurality of viewers — 23 percent — found that Biden performed the best at the Dec. 19 Democratic presidential debate, held in Los Angeles. Sen. Bernie Sanders came in second at 16 percent. This is the first time viewers chose Biden as the best performer since the first primary debate in June.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, meanwhile, a top contender in the race for the Democratic nomination, trailed behind her colleagues, with only 9 percent saying she performed the best. Mayor Pete Buttigieg (10 percent), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (11 percent) and Andrew Yang (12 percent) all received higher percentages. Only 4 percent of respondents put billionaire Tom Steyer as the top-performing debater.

The ironic point here is that as debates go, this debate left Biden with a lower amount of speaking time than prior events. In essence, the less Biden speaks, the more viewers like him and the more likely he is to “win” a debate simply with his presence.

The other irony is that Yang spoke the least, yet received the largest boost in favorability.

Bernie Sanders also had good results from the polling data with viewers rating him positively, edging slightly above Biden when the results for which candidate had a “good” or “excellent” debate were combined.

The smaller number of candidates on stage produced some very different reactions from viewers when compared to past debates. Over the course of three hours, Joe Biden was left basically untouched, only interjecting into some arguments where he strategically wanted to, such as questioning the mechanics of Medicare For All, but remained mostly in the “speak when spoken too” column.

Yang went a long way with his debate performance last week, and the numbers bear out his efforts. Will it be enough to improve some of his poll numbers? It’s possible he might see a little bump over the next few weeks which could boost him into contention for a debate slot on Jan. 14.

At the moment, according to analysis from FiveThirtyEight, Yang is on the outside looking in and needs several qualifying polls between now and the deadline in early January to make the debate stage in Iowa.


  1. Andrew Yang seems like someone who would make a good friend. I however don’t think he could be more than that. His platform as a candidate is a one topic one and that is of course Universal Basic Income. As a political candidate I think he is way out of his depth. As said in this article his bump in Favorability will I think not boost his support at all.?

    • I would have to completely disagree with your comment. Yang has great depth and abilities in addressing the concerns of the American people, policies to invoke real change and the capacity to lead this country into the 21 century better than any other democratic candidate. His policy “The Freedom Dividend” can dramatically impact many of this countries problems that remain unresolved with our current administration. Please research who Andrew Yang is because once you learn about him and his main policies you will see that he is very capable of becoming the next president of the United States.

      • I have one big problem with Andrew Yang. I am going to retire at the end of next year. Will Andrew Yang’s brainchild Universal Basic Income rob the coffers of Social Security? If not how is he planning to fund it. I don’t disagree with you that his idea of UBI will solve some of this country’s ills, but at what cost? Will I have worked more than 46 years to be stripped of my Social Security benefits to fund an experiment??

        • Yang has been saying that computers and robots will simply eliminate many jobs–yet productivity and therefore, wealth, will increase. But it’s not a new idea. I remember when Nixon proposed it in 1969. Here’s a good article about it–saying the basic idea goes back many centuries.

          “hospitalization rates fell by 8.5%, high school completion rates went up, and new mothers could afford to work less. And in general, few people stopped working — one of the key fears that’s often cited about basic income.”

          Yang’s own website says there are four ways to pay for it.

          (1) Current spending–We spend $500 to 600 billion on current programs. Plus over a trillion collars a year on health care, incarceration, and homeless services. Much of that is wasted, because people get into a horrible condition before they finally get help.

          (2) Value added tax–Since it is tied to actual sales, corporations will not be able to escape it.

          (3) New revenue–It would boost the economy, since growth comes from consumers, giving consumers the money will go right back into the economy. And, of course, increase the VAT tax income.

          (4) Taxing pollution and removing the ridiculously low tax rate on what is legally known as “UNEARNED income.”

          As for your question about Social Security, Yang says that’s YOUR money. You paid into it, and you’re just getting it back. So the UBI would be ON TOP of your Social Security check.

          I’ve been getting Social Security checks for a decade. When I stopped my regular employment, I didn’t sit around on Social Security. I’ve been busier than ever. The UBI is designed to eliminate the fears and anxiety of financial disaster, thereby freeing people to be more creative.

          • I disagree 100% with Yang’s UBI:
            1. While you didn’t sit around the mass majority will. The Navajo Nation is an excellent example. People say why should I work when I get an income from the government each month.
            2. Businesses will pass any tax on to their customers. Example: Sneakers will cost $600. OK, not $600 but A Lot more than they do now.
            3. Trump has already explained that a robust economy will reduce/pay for various programs. Yet people still complain.
            4. The middle class, not anymore else, will pay dearly for UBI.

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