Joe Biden undoubtedly has to pedal harder. But to hear a gleeful mainstream media tell it on Sunday morning news programs, after the release of the first post-debate poll results Sen. Kamala Harris plunged the former vice president down the hopper.
That's absurd. Look realistically at what happened in Miami last Thursday.
According to Morning Consult polling, Biden lost 5 points to Harris of California, the night's debate winner. That's a big number for a candidate few voters knew much about.
But even though you could deduce those 5 points came out of Biden's hide -- Biden had 38 percent of voters' confidence when the debate started, 33 percent when it ended -- the moderate veteran is STILL Democratic primary voters' FIRST choice. He STILL has a third of the national Dem vote.
Harris scored most of her points by leveling a withering attack on Biden over his decades-old opposition to federally mandated busing of black students as a means of racially integrating public schools.
Harris came in at 7 points. Now she's even with fellow Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts with 12 points. Warren started the night at 13 points, slipped only a single point.
Harris hoisted her name last week, sure. And she'll get plenty of second looks as the campaigns go along. But, please. She's about three dozen more polls away from "burying" Biden.
And much as the Hard Left wants to sucker-punch the former veep, Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont could be considered in deeper trouble than Biden. Who knows, maybe familiarity really does breed contempt, because in a field of 20 -- considering all the exposure Sanders had in the last six years -- his aggressive debate posture didn't win him a single point over the 19 percent he had on Thursday morning.
Also, 67 percent of Democratic primary voters said in the poll they had a favorable view of Sanders. That's down 7 points from a Morning Consult survey taken before the debate.
This poll had a 5 percent margin of error, too. Read more about its size and methodology by clicking here.
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith