Bernie Sanders Is The Big Loser In Latest New Hampshire Polls
Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire Primary by a huge margin in 2016. This time, he's slipping in the polls as other candidates rise ahead of him.
While we’ve seen plenty of national polling since the two-night debate at the end of last month, there hasn’t been much reporting polling of the early primary states. That changed early this week with the release of two polls of the first-in-the-national primary state of New Hampshire, both of which show big changes that mirror what we’ve seen at the national level.
First up there’s a new poll from St. Anslem college:
Former Vice President Joe Biden has a narrow lead over the field of Democratic contenders in New Hampshire, but Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have surged into contention for the top spot in the first-in-the-nation primary state, according to a new poll released Monday.
The latest survey from Saint Anselm College finds Biden at 20.8 percent support among likely Democratic voters in New Hampshire, a 2-point drop from April.
Biden is followed closely by Harris at 17.5 percent support and Warren at 16.7 percent. The figures mark a 10-point jump for Harris and an 8-point jump for Warren.
The survey has a margin of error of 5.2 percentage points, putting Biden, Harris and Warren in a statistical tie for first place.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg held steady in the poll with 11.5 percent support.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), who comes from nearby Vermont, has fallen nearly 6 points since April and now sits in fifth place at 9.9 percent support in the latest survey.
The rest of the field comes out like this:
- Andrew Yang comes in seventh at 4.9%, the highest he has polled in any poll so far in the race;
- Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar comes in eighth place at 3%;
- Marianne Williamson, who I guess is best described as a “spiritual adviser” who was a frequent guest on Oprah Winfrey’s old show, comes in ninth at 2%;
- All other candidates come in under 2%, including former Congressman Beto O’Rourke who comes in at 0%.
Perhaps the biggest surprises here are Yang and Williamson, who both do better than they have in any previous poll. This is likely a reflection of the fact that both candidates have spent a considerable amount of time on the ground in the Granite State and therefore probably have better name recognition there than they do elsewhere in the country or among the Democratic electorate nationwide.
In addition to this poll, CNN has released a new Granite State poll that shows similar changes at the top of the poll:
Former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders sit atop the field of Democratic presidential contenders among likely primary voters in New Hampshire, according to a new CNN poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire.
Overall, 24% say they back Biden, while 19% each support Sanders and Warren. The five-point margin between Biden and the two senators matches the survey’s margin of sampling error.
Behind this top tier, 10% support South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and 9% back California Sen. Kamala Harris. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke each registered 2% in the poll.
No other candidate tested earned more than 1% support.
From this, we can look at the RealClearPolitics average for the state, which, like the recent polling, shows a much different race than the one that existed before the first debate:
- Former Vice-President Joe Biden stands in first place with an average of 26.0%;
- In second place, we have Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren with an average of 17.7%;
- Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is in third place at 16.3%, but that’s mostly a reflection of his performance in previous polls;
- California Senator Kamala Harris is in fourth place at 11.3%;
- Mayor Pete Buttigieg is in fourth place at 10.7%;
- Andrew Yang is in fifth place at 2.3%;
- New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke are tied at 2.0%; and,
- Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is at 1.3%; and,
- All other candidates come in at 1% or less.
The biggest surprise in both polls and the polling average is the performance, or lack thereof, of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. In 2016, fresh off what ended up being a very narrow loss to Hillary Clinton in Iowa, Sanders ended up pulling off a stunning win in the Granite State, beating Clinton by more than 60,000 votes and more than twenty percentage points. To a large degree, Sanders’ win three-and-a-half years ago can be attributed to both his ability to appealto a new swath of voters and the fact that New Hampshire voters were very familiar with him given that he had been a fixture in the politics of neighboring Vermont since the 1980s.
When the race started, Sanders and Biden were basically tied for first place with the rest of the field trailing them significantly. Much as we’ve seen happen at the national level, though, Sanders seems to be finding that it’s hard to get lightning to strike twice and he finds himself slipping while Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris both slide. This comes at the same time that a new poll out of Iowa shows him falling into single digits and fourth place in the Hawkeye State. Similarly, a Fox News poll out of South Carolina shows him slipping there as well and polling in Nevada also shows him weakening. There are the first four contests of the race, and if Sanders underperforms ni all of them he may find that his campaign isn’t going to last as long as the first one did.
Obviously, these are still early numbers. The New Hampshire primary is still 211 days away and there’s any number of things could happen between now and ten to change the nature of the race. The extent to which the race has changed in the wake of the debate at the end of June is proof enough of that, and it’s probable that the debate at the end of this month will have a similar impact on the state of the race. One possibly “X factor” in the Granite State is Pete Buttigieg, who is polling just behind the top four and much stronger than he is nationally or in other states. Previous primaries in New Hampshire on both sides of the aisle have given us surprise performances, and Buttigieg could end up being that candidate for this cycle. As they say, stay tuned.