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  • Paul Steinhauser

Sanders edges out Biden in new NH poll; Buttigieg third

Updated: May 10, 2019


Sen. Bernie Sanders arrives for a campaign rally in Concord, New Hampshire, on March 10, 2019.Steven Senne / AP

A new poll indicates Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont with a slight edge over former Vice President Joe Biden in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire.


Thirty percent of likely Democratic primary voters questioned in a Change Research survey released on Tuesday said they’d vote for Sanders, with 26% backing Biden. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a one-time long-shot for the nomination who’s surged over the past two months, was third at 12%.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts stood at 9% in the poll, which was conducted May 3-5. Sen. Kamala Harris of California was one percentage point back, at 8%.


Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas stood at 3%, with Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland and entrepreneur Andrew Yang at 2%. Everyone else in the historically large field of 2020 Democrats – which tops 20 candidates – registered at 1% or less in the poll.


The survey differs from a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll, the only other survey conducted in the Granite State entirely after Biden’s recent entry into the race. That poll indicated Biden at 20% support, with Sanders and Buttigieg knotted at 12%.


Sanders, the independent senator who’s making his second straight White House bid, crushed eventual nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, launching him into a marathon primary battle with the former secretary of state that lasted past the end of the nominating calendar.


The Change Research poll suggested Sanders with a nine-point lead over Biden among male voters, and the former vice president edging Sanders among women by two points.


The poll spotlighted a generational divide, with Sanders leading among those 49 and younger, and Biden on top with voters 50 and older. The survey also pointed to a partisan split, with Democrats giving Biden a six point advantage, and Sanders holding a nearly two-to-one margin among independents likely to vote in the Democratic primary. New Hampshire is one of two dozen states across the county where independent voters can cast a ballot in either the Democratic or Republican primaries.


Warren was the top second choice among those polled, at 19%. She also had a slight advantage over Sanders on the questions of which are the toughest and smartest candidates in the field of contenders.


Biden led when asked who’s most likeable, and he also topped the field on the question of who’s most electable. But Sanders topped the field on the question of who’s considered most honest and ethical and which candidate generates the most excitement, as well as favorability.


Sanders and Biden topped the last Change Research poll in New Hampshire, which was conducted in early January. At the time Sanders stood at 26%, Biden 24%, Warren 11% and O’Rourke 9%.


“I am a little surprised by the lack of movement among the frontrunners Biden and Sanders; we’ve seen large jumps in Biden’s support elsewhere around the country, but Sanders remains extremely popular in New Hampshire, evidenced by how many New Hampshire voters are excited about his candidacy,” Change pollster Jane Loria explained.


“It's enough to overpower the surge in popularity that's propelled Biden so far ahead.”


Loria also noted that “Warren’s numbers look pretty stable, relative to our previous New Hampshire poll, but she surges to the lead as voters’ second choice candidate, which is suggestive of a big opportunity for growth.”


Loria also pointed to Buttigieg’s “rise from obscurity” in their previous poll to 12% now, and the doubling of support by Harris from the January survey to the 8% she has in the new poll


Change Research surveyed 864 likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire. The margin of error in the online poll is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.