Andrew Yang qualifies for next debate after release of new poll

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Yang: Our message is reaching the American people beyond the debates

2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang reacts to his debate performance on 'Fox News @ Night.'

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang stands at 4 percent in a new national poll released Tuesday by Quinnipiac University — which means the first-time candidate and tech-entrepreneur has qualified to take the stage at next week’s sixth Democratic presidential primary debate.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden leads with 29 percent support in the poll, with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont at 21 percent. Biden jumped 5 percentage points and Sanders climbed 4 points from Quinnipiac’s previous national poll in the Democratic nomination race, which was released late last month.

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Prior to the release of the new survey, Yang’s campaign had said it remained one poll shy of reaching the thresholds to make the stage at the Dec. 19 showdown.

Candidates must reach at least 4 percent in four surveys recognized as qualifying polls by the Democratic National Committee (DNC), or 6 percent in two polls in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Yang has already reached the other qualifying criteria — receiving contributions from at least 200,000 individual donors.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii still remains one poll shy of qualifying for the debate. She grabbed the support of 2 percent in the new Quinnipiac University survey among Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party.

On Monday, Gabbard announced that she wouldn’t attend the debate even if she qualifies. The candidate said instead, she’ll meet with voters in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Candidates have until the end of Thursday to reach the polling and donor thresholds. The Democratic National Committee will wait unit after the deadline to officially announce which White House hopefuls have qualified for the debate.

By qualifying, Yang, an Asian-American, becomes the first non-Caucasian candidate to make the debate stage.

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Sen. Kamala Harris — one of three black candidates running for the Democratic nomination — had qualified, but the California senator last week ended her bid for the White House. The lack of a non-white candidate on the debate stage from a field that, at its zenith, was arguably the most racially diverse in history raised concerns with some voters.

Yang — once the longest of long-shots who has seen his campaign surge to middle tier status thanks in part to his promise of a $1,000-per-month Freedom Dividend payment to all adults — has qualified for all of the Democratic primary debates.

Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts stands at 15 percent in the new poll, basically unchanged from last month. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg plunged from 16 percent support in last month’s poll to 9 percent.

“This is the first time Biden has had a double-digit lead since August, and Sanders' best number since June. While Warren's numbers seem to have stabilized, Buttigieg's numbers have dipped," Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy said.

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Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg grabbed 5 percent support in the Quinnipiac survey. The multi-billionaire business and media mogul, who declared his candidacy two and a half weeks ago, also stood at 5 percent in a Monmouth University national poll that was also released on Tuesday.

Besides Yang and Gabbard, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota stood at 3 percent. No other candidate in the still-large field of Democratic White House hopefuls topped 1 percent.

The poll also indicates that Biden, Sanders, Warren, Bloomberg and Buttigieg each with upper to middle single-digit advantages over President Trump in hypothetical 2020 general election matchups.

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The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted from Wednesday to Monday, with 1,533 registered voters nationwide questioned by live telephone operators. The survey includes 665 Democratic voters and independent voters who lean Democratic, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

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