We’re on the eve of the second Democratic presidential debate of the 2020 election, and it’s a debate in which the current leader in most polls, Joe Biden, appears more ready to joust with his would-be usurpers.

This week, Biden had this to say of his most successful antagonist from the first debate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.): “I’m not going to be as polite this time, because this is the same person who asked me to come to California and nominate her in her convention.”

When Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) teed up attacks on Biden’s support for the 1994 crime bill, Biden hit back there, too. “His police department [as mayor of Newark] was stopping and frisking people, mostly African American men,” Biden said. “We took action against them; the Justice Department took action against them, held the police department accountable.

“If they want to argue about the past, I can do that,” Biden added. “I got a past I’m proud of. They got a past that’s not quite so good.”

In other words, the next debate is unlikely to look like the last.

With that as the backdrop, here’s our latest list of the top 15 Democratic presidential contenders. As always, this is in order of likelihood to win the nomination (and here’s our last one, from April, for those interested):

15. Former congressman John Delaney (Md.): Delaney has denied his staff told him to drop out of the race, but the self-funder’s millions in spending don’t seem to have gotten him much — especially in the state he’s focused on, Iowa. (Previous ranking: 15)

14. Former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper: Speaking of candidates whose staffs reportedly want them out, Politico reported that Hickenlooper’s has told him to switch to running for Senate. That’s not great. And neither is Hickenlooper’s fundraising, which fell behind even his would-be Senate primary opponents in the second quarter. (Previous ranking: 14)

13. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock: Bullock will be the big new face in the debate next week, having qualified after getting a late start on qualification for the first one. Expect plenty of talk about how he’s the only person in this field who has won a Trump state. (Previous ranking: 13)

12. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.): The recent New Yorker story defending former senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) led to a number of Democratic senators disavowing their 2017 calls for his resignation. And that’s more bad news for the struggling New York senator, who more than anyone has alienated liberals by leading the charge for Franken’s ouster. Gillibrand isn’t backing down, either. (Previous ranking: 9)

11. Sen. Michael F. Bennet (Colo.): Bennet seems to have surpassed Hickenlooper as the serious Coloradan in this race (for what that’s worth). The big question, though, is whether the understated senator will inspire anyone. (Previous ranking: N/A)

10. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee: Inslee has a serious résumé and seems to be a player in debates. You have to wonder, though, if billionaire Tom Steyer’s recent entry might undercut his desire to be the climate change candidate in the race. (Previous ranking: 10)

9. Former congressman Beto O’Rourke (Tex.): O’Rourke broke the Senate fundraising record in his campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) in 2018, but after a big first 24 hours ($6.1 million raised), he has really fallen off ($7 million raised in the successive 3½ months). Combine that with a debate performance that was hardly confidence-inspiring, and he’s got lots of work to do to prove he wasn’t a flash in the pan. (Previous ranking: 5)

8. Former housing and urban development secretary Julián Castro: One poll showed Castro trailing only Harris when it came to who impressed people the most at the first debate. Fully 29 percent said he exceeded their expectations, behind Harris’s 50 percent. Unfortunately for him, he’s reaped almost no polling bounce from it. (Previous ranking: 12)

7. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.): Trump has been doing Klobuchar something of a favor by playing up his chances to win Minnesota. One of the senator’s strongest arguments is the huge margins she’s racked up in a key Midwestern state. (Previous ranking: 8)

6. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg: He was the big fundraising winner in the second quarter, pulling in nearly $25 million. But his polling has plateaued if not regressed slightly. (Previous ranking: 7)

5. Former vice president Joe Biden: I’ve been bearish on Biden for a long time, and that continues to be the case. The good news for him is that his drop after the first debate wasn’t exactly precipitous, and he still leads big (though not quite by Hillary Clinton-like margins) among black voters. He also continues to poll best against Trump, which should remain central to his pitch, given its importance to primary voters. My question, though: Does all that continue to be the case once his primary opponents become better known? (Previous ranking: 6)

4. Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.): Booker is at around 1 to 2 percent in most polls, but he’s still an upside candidate. And he appears ready to take a step forward by engaging Biden. (Previous ranking: 4)

3. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.): The 2016 candidate been inching backward early in the 2020 race. We always wondered how devoted his 2016 base was to his 2020 campaign and how much of it was just an anti-Clinton vote. The answer doesn’t appear as great as Sanders probably hoped. His base isn’t the same as Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.), but her rise certainly doesn’t help him. (Previous ranking: 1)

2. Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.): Harris was the big winner of the first debate, but did she really capitalize? The main story line afterward was about how Harris has equivocated on issues including decriminalizing illegal border crossings and whether her single-payer health-care proposal would allow for private insurance. She even seemed to hew closer to Biden’s position on the issue she attacked him for: busing. Harris needs to be concerned about an emerging narrative that she’s trying to be all things to all people and doesn’t have true convictions. If she can do that, she’s clearly formidable. (Previous ranking: 2)

1. Sen Elizabeth Warren (Mass.): Warren has been the steady climber of the 2020 race, and she has done so with detailed policy proposals and passionate appeals rather than by jousting with her opponents. It’s not difficult to see the other candidates beating one another up and Warren — who appears tougher to attack given she’s got fewer liabilities with base voters — shooting the gap. She’s matched up with Sanders for the first time in the second debate, giving us the matchup we’ve been waiting for. (Previous ranking: 3)