New Hampshire Primary Poll Sets Sanders At #1

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Although the Iowa caucuses were marked by chaos and long delays in any official results at all even emerging, the Democratic presidential primary race is marching on. The first actual paper ballot-driven primary will be unfolding on February 11 in New Hampshire, where a new poll has top national candidate Bernie Sanders with a large, six percent lead over Joe Biden, who currently has just a thin average leading margin over Sanders in national polls. In New Hampshire, according to the new Boston Globe/WBZ-TV/Suffolk University poll, Sanders captures 24 percent compared to just 18 percent for Biden. It’s all downhill from there — the only other candidates with double digit levels of support, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg, received 13 and 11 percent of the support in the poll, respectively.

The Suffolk University Political Research Center’s director David Paleologos commented, discussing Sanders’s significant lead in the state:

‘In two words: generation and geography. He’s got a 31-point lead over Warren [among younger voters]. That’s really what’s driving his lead… I think there is a lot of fluidity. I think it’s indicative of the fact that you have so many people in the top tier.’

The figures mirror Sanders’s support elsewhere. A NBC News entrance poll of Iowa caucusgoers showed 48 percent of those from the ages of 17 to 29 were for Sanders, while just 3 percent of that age bracket was for Biden. (Some 12 percent of them went for Warren.) Meanwhile, on the flipside of that, Biden captured the support of a full 34 percent of those 65 or older — while just 5 percent of those in that age bracket supported Sanders. In other words, younger voters are driving his campaign’s success — and in New Hampshire, there’s the added benefit of Sanders representing the next door state of Vermont in the U.S. Senate for many years.

“Sixty-four percent of Sanders voters say their minds are made up ahead of the primary,” the Boston Globe notes, adding that the figure is “the highest share for any of the top tier of candidates.” Also adding to Sanders’s strong coalition is the fact that, as the paper adds, “Undeclared voters, or those not affiliated with a party, also heavily favored Sanders, at 30 percent.”

All of the top candidates — along with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, who had a seemingly startlingly strong showing in Iowa — will be hosting long lists of campaign events in New Hampshire as primary day approaches. Sanders in particular will be delivering what his team has billed as a direct response to Trump’s State of the Union address, which the president is set to deliver this Tuesday. Sanders has delivered direct responses before; this year, the “official” one from the Democratic Party will come from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Nationally, most of the top Democratic presidential candidates have consistently strong showings against Trump. In hypothetical general election match-up polls, Biden beats Trump by an average of 5.4 percent, Sanders wins by an average of 3.7 percent, Warren wins by an average of 1.8 percent, but Buttigieg currently loses by an average of a margin of less than one percent — which is not a good sign for those hoping for a candidate to convincingly take on Trump.