Poll Shows Four-Way Battle In New Hampshire

The latest poll out of New Hampshire shows four candidates at the top in a very close race.

A new poll out of New Hampshire, which comes just 78 days before Granite State voters head to the polls in the first in the nation primary, shows four candidates in what amounts to a statistical tie at the top of the field, with the rest of the candidates trailing in the single digits:

A new Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll of likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters shows a tight, four-way contest, with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on top but statistically tied with Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and former vice president Joe Biden.

It has been decades since this many candidates have jostled for the lead so soon before a New Hampshire presidential primary. On Monday, longtime New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner officially scheduled the vote for Feb. 11.

The survey found Sanders, who won the New Hampshire primary in 2016, leading the field with 16 percent, including those who lean toward the candidate. Warren had 14 percent, Buttigieg had 13 percent, and Biden had 12 percent. All other candidates, including former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, who jumped in the race this month, were in single digits.

The poll suggested little about this race is set in stone.Twenty-one percent of likely voters were undecided. When those who chose a candidate were pressed, more than half said they might change their minds before the primary, while only 43 percent said their minds were made up.

While support for Sanders and Warren was essentially unchanged from the last Suffolk/Globe poll in August, Biden lost 9 percentage points, while Buttigieg gained 7 points.

“The narrative is changing in New Hampshire,” said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk’s Political Research Center, which conducted the poll.

Earlier, he said, people were talking about a battle for progressive voters between Sanders and Warren.

“Now, add to that the war between Buttigieg and Biden,” Paleologos said.

Since the last Suffolk/Globe poll, older voters in particular have shifted.Among voters over 65 years of age, Biden dropped from 28 percent in August to 12 percent today, while Buttigieg has vaulted from 2 percent to 17 percent and now leads the field among seniors.

Buttigieg also leads the field among voters 56-65, among whom he has 22 percent support.

Trailing the Sanders-Warren-Buttigieg-Biden quartet was Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii with 6 percent. Last month, Hillary Clinton accused the congresswoman of being a Russian plant to eventually run as a third-party candidate next year and take votes away from the Democratic nominee. The comment ended up boosting her support and she is now in fifth place.

The survey found Gabbard does better among men and moderates. And far more than any other candidate, her supporters said that if Gabbard doesn’t become the nominee, they will consider voting for Trump or for a third-party candidate.

“I liked Tulsi more after Clinton attacked her,” said Mark Gold, a 58-year-old computer consultant who lives in Concord. “The Democratic Party appears to like to manipulate things for their preferred candidate and I think that demonstrated she is different.”

Trailing Gabbard was entrepreneur Andrew Yang with 4 percent and Senator Kamala Harris of California with 3 percent, the survey found. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and businessman Tom Steyer had 2 percent each. Eight other candidates, including Patrick and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, all either had 1 percent support or less. Former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, who announced he was running for president on Sunday, was not included in the poll because he is not competing in New Hampshire’s primary.

Other recent polls have shown similar numbers:

  • The most recent St. Anslem College poll, which I wrote about earlier this month, put Buttigieg in the lead at 25%, followed by Senator Warren and former Vice-President Biden, who were tied at 15%, Senator Sanders at 9%, Senator Klobuchar at 6%, Tom Stever at 5%, Cory Booker at 3%, Andrew Yang at 2%, and all other candidates at or under 1%;
  • The latest CBS News/YouGov poll, meanwhile, showed Elizabeth Warren at 31%, Biden at 22%. Sanders at 20%, Buttigieg at 16%, Klobuchar and Harris at 3%, and all other candidates at or under 1%;
  • The latest Quinnipiac poll put Biden at 20%, Warren at 16%, Buttigieg at 15%, Sanders at 14%, Gabbard at 6%, Yang at 4%, Klobuchar and Steyer at 3%, and all other candidates at or under 1%

In the RealClearPolitics average for the state we see the following:

  1. Elizabeth Warren — 19%
  2. Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden (tied) — 17.3%
  3. Bernie Sanders — 14.8%
  4. Tulsi Gabbard — 3.8%
  5. Amy Klobuchar — 3.3%
  6. Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer (tied) — 2.8%
  7. Kamala Harris —- 2.0%
  8. Cory Booker — 1.8%
  9. All other candidates under 1%

The RealClearPolitics chart also shows the jumble at the top while the rest of the field trails far behind:

While there’s obviously enough time for things to change between now and primary day for things to change, what these numbers show us is largely the same thing that the national polls and the polling out of states like Iowa have shown us. Specifically, that the race is coalescing around four candidates, two of whom represent the center-left of the party in Biden and Buttigieg, and two who represent the progressive wing of the party in Warren and Sanders. At some point, that dichotomy is going to boil down to just two candidates, presumably from both wings of the party. Right now, the most obvious choices for those two candidates appear to be Senator Warren and former Vice-President Biden, but it is far too early to count out either Senator Sanders who has a loyal group of supporters, or Mayor Buttigieg, who has an arguably fresher approach to politics than any of the other candidates and who is also polling well in Iowa, which holds its Caucuses just a week before New Hampshire. A strong performance in both states could turn Buttigieg into a frontrunner in his own right, and then we would have an entirely new race,

FILED UNDER: Bernie Sanders, Campaign 2020, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    One thing for observers to remember is that the NH primary is open to independents who are likely to skew moderate and more likely to reflect the general (at least the white portion) of the electorate.

    Roughly 30% are undecided and I suspect (or maybe I’m projecting) that support for all candidates is soft and subject to change.

    I’ve been leaning Warren as I feel the issues she is highlighting are among the most important, though her solutions often far fetched. But she has a propensity to dig herself holes and keep digging, so I’m reconsidering. Bernie and Biden are still out in my opinion and Mayor Pete won’t get the nomination and if he does will lose. If he were more experienced I would seriously consider him. The rest are road kill at this point unless someone has a miracle in Iowa. I should give Mayor Pete consideration and I probably will as the primary gets closer.

    Over to you Jen, for the report from the north country.

  2. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Ha, thanks!

    I tend to view yard signs as an indicator as to depth of support–if you’re willing to stick a sign in your yard, it’s an indication that you have deep enough conviction that you’re going to defend your choice. I’ve seen no yard signs for Biden, only a smattering for Buttigieg and Sanders, and quite a few for Warren and–yep, Tulsi. I still believe Warren’s the favorite to win the NH primary–depending on who turns out.

    Support seems very, very soft to me–I think everyone can see the faults of each of the candidates, which leaves them with no One True Choice. No one seems to want to commit.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    The lawn sign report from the seacoast is that Tulsi is way-way ahead. Mayor Pete, Warren and Bernie have about the same penetration. Yang has more signs than Biden. Mayor Pete’s signs have popped up in the last couple of weeks and are seen most frequently in Durham (university town), Newmarket (lots of students living there) and Portsmouth (liberal money, influential gay community).

  4. al Ameda says:

    In the RealClearPolitics average for the state we see the following:
    Elizabeth Warren — 19%
    Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden (tied) — 17.3%
    Bernie Sanders — 14.8%

    What I take from this is, with the RCP average as the snapshot, the left (Liz, Bernie) has 33.8%, the center (Joe, Pete) has 34.6%, and all else 31.6%. People just want to see who survives this with a real chance to defeat Trump.

  5. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    In my corner of middle-class to lower upper middle class (that’s a mouthful) Des Moines the sign wars are definitely trending Buttigieg. There are 4x Pete signs over any others. The balance is for Harris, and less for Warren.

    I have to walk because I have to exercise a mostly paralyzed ankle / foot and the associated systems in the leg and hip. I pick a direction and do 2 or 3 miles. Random pathing.

    I cannot remember seeing a single Biden sign.

    Last Sunday I Lurch clomped past a super goth couple raking up leaves in Beaverdale neighborhood. It was so adorable.

    Sign wars are both meaningless and illustrative. People who are in enough to have a sign favor Buttigieg by a lot in my tiny corner of the world.

  6. de stijl says:

    I Lurch clomp everywhere. Stupid foot!

    But that goth couple was so cute! Raking Goths amuse me. It’s so normie.

  7. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: PS–I’m not that far north. Nestled between Manch and the Seacoast, in a semi-rural area in a town that went for Trump.

  8. An Interested Party says: