The Note: Kamala Harris takes early round in race without a front-runner
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WATCH: Less than a mile away from where she began her career as a prosecutor, Harris characterized her track record as a district attorney, attorney general and U.S. Senator as "fighting for the people."

The TAKE with Rick Klein

This is what a front-runner-less campaign looks like.

No Democratic candidate broke double digits in the ABC News/Washington Post poll out Tuesday morning, with 43 percent offering no opinion when given the chance to name a favorite candidate. As an aside, President Donald Trump was the choice of 4 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents – that’s more than volunteered support for Beto O’Rourke, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, or Michael Bloomberg.

Yet out of that jumble of candidates emerges Sen. Kamala Harris, the choice of 8 percent, just behind former Vice President Joe Biden’s 9 percent.

Harris used a CNN town hall Monday night to cap a launch week that was the envy of several of her rivals. From her announcement on “Good Morning America” to a massive Oakland, California rally that showcased her diverse appeal and, what she hopes will be a barrier-breaking message, Harris and her team have been in command of late.

While few are likely to remember who won an early round of the 2020 battle as the field changes and fresh challenges emerge, breaking through already isn’t easy and it says something that Harris owned her first week in the race.

President Donald Trump hosts a round-table discussion with Hispanic pastors at the White House on Jan. 25, 2019.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Each time the president plays to his base, he runs the risk of losing the middle.

And the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows just that: the president cratering with independents. Fifty-nine percent of independent voters, according to the poll, said they would not consider voting for the president, compared to 47 percent who said they were ruling out former President Barack Obama a year before his reelection.

Overall, a stark 56 percent of all registered voters polled said they definitely would not vote to reelect Trump. Only half as many, 28 percent, said they definitely would.

The president, obviously, enjoys better numbers within the parameters of his own party, but still 32 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents said they think the GOP nominee should be someone else. That’s far from a ringing-endorsement right now.

When the other side’s base is fired up, the middle becomes vital for winning nationwide. Then again, this far out from Election Day the last go-around, Trump’s polling wasn’t great either.

The TIP with John Verhovek

Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz speaks at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders in Seattle, March 22, 2017.
Former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg addresses a group of business and government leaders at the Asia Pacific Foundation in Toronto, Jan. 15, 2019.

Howard Schultz’s foray into the 2020 presidential field was met with seemingly universal skepticism and blowback across Democratic politics. But it’s a stinging rebuke from another wealthy politician considering a bid for the White House that may have struck the most cogent cord.

“In 2020, the great likelihood is that an independent would just split the anti-Trump vote and end up reelecting the President. That's a risk I refused to run in 2016 and we can't afford to run it now,” former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement, released following Schultz’s announcement that he is “seriously considering” running for president.

Democrats themselves seem to agree with Bloomberg. Forty-three percent of them in the new ABC News/Washington Post poll said nominating a candidate who can defeat Trump is more important than nominating someone who is closest to them on the issues.

Bloomberg will spend Tuesday in the pivotal early primary state of New Hampshire, providing another high-profile opportunity to offer his thoughts on why a Schultz candidacy could doom Democrats in 2020. The former Starbucks CEO, meanwhile, will join ABC’s “The View,” on Tuesday, giving him the opportunity to respond to Bloomberg and the early critics of his potential candidacy.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Tuesday morning’s episode features ABC News’ Anne Flaherty and John Parkinson. They break down the economic impact of the government shutdown and preview what House Democrats have planned now that the shutdown is over. Then, ABC News’ John Verhovek teams up with FiveThirtyEight managing editor Micah Cohen to analyze the new ABC News/Washington Post poll on the 2020 presidential race. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast. Lessons From The Government Shutdown (And More 2020 Announcements) The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast team discusses why President Donald Trump decided to back down and debates what kind of agreement lawmakers and Trump could come to on border security. And in the latest installment of “The Theory of the Case,” the crew considers the presidential bids of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. https://53eig.ht/2Us3R9R

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • Howard Schultz, former Starbucks CEO and author of " From The Ground Up: A Journey To Reimagine The Promise Of America," will appear on ABC's "The View" on Tuesday.
  • Veteran political operative and longtime friend of the president, Roger Stone appears in federal court for arraignment on seven charges in Washington on Tuesday.
  • The Senate Intelligence Committee holds a hearing on worldwide threats with FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and others at 9:30 a.m. in Washington.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee votes on nominating William Barr as U.S. Attorney General at 10 a.m. in Washington.
  • The House Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the Department of Defense’s Support to the Southern Border at 10 a.m. in Washington.
  • The Senate Finance Committee and House Oversight and Reform Committee each hold hearings on prescription drug prices at 10:15 a.m. and 11 a.m., respectively, in Washington.
  • Michael Bloomberg, three-term mayor of New York and founder of Bloomberg LP, speaks about his book, “Climate of Hope,” as part of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics' "Bookmark Series," at 8:15 a.m. in Manchester, New Hampshire.
  • The Note has a new look! Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

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