Yang surpasses Beto in Iowa poll, qualifies for fall debates


Andrew Yang, the entrepreneur running an outsider presidential campaign centered on the promise of a universal basic income, has qualified for the fall Democratic primary debates.

Yang crossed the second of two required debate thresholds on Thursday, when he polled at 2 percent in a Monmouth University poll in Iowa. He had previously received at least 2 percent in three other polls approved by the Democratic National Committee and has hit the required 130,000 unique donor mark.

At the other end of the spectrum, onetime Democratic phenom Beto O'Rourke was outperformed in the poll by Yang, clocking in at under 1 percent.

Yang is the ninth candidate to qualify for a pair of debates: one in mid-September and one sometime in October. He joins Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, O'Rourke, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on stage.

Biden leads the field in the Monmouth poll in Iowa, the first DNC-approved poll in the key early state taken since the second round of debates last month. He has 28 percent to Warren's 19 percent. Harris is in third with 11 percent, Sanders has 9 percent and Buttigieg has 8 percent.

Biden's position at the top is stable from an April 2019 poll Monmouth took in the first caucus state, ticking up a single percentage point. Warren gained 12 points over the April poll, Harris is up 4 points and Sanders dropped 7 points. Buttigieg also remains in the same position he was in in April, losing just 1 point. O'Rourke, who polled at 6 percent in the April poll, polled at less than 1 percent in August.

In addition to Yang, two other candidates picked up a poll toward qualifying for the debate stage. Billionaire Tom Steyer was at 3 percent, his third qualifying poll for the fall debates. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was at 2 percent, her first qualifying poll for the fall stage.

The Monmouth University poll was conducted Aug. 1-4, surveying 401 likely Democratic caucus-goers. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

Qualification for the September debate closes on Aug. 28. Other candidates who are in the mix for qualifying include Julián Castro and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Both Castro and Gabbard have hit the donor mark, while Castro needs one more poll and Gabbard needs three. Neither Steyer nor Gillibrand have publicly said they've hit the donor mark.

Both the September and October debates are expected to have fewer candidates qualify than the summer debates, in which 20 candidates took the stage. But the October debate may be larger than the September debate - because candidates who qualify for September automatically qualify for October, and those who missed out on September have more time to qualify for October.


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